For Saturday of the Twelfth Ordinary Week of the Church Year
As slaves for their master or soldiers for their centurion, Abraham and Sarah dashed about for their Most Holy Trinity of Guests.
God the Lord in the shape of three men has called on them.
The token of three men may be like the Hebrew way of showing something to be the highest and greatest of its kind.
The Hebrew way to say “very good” is good-good, and to say “best” is good-good-good.
We’ve kept the Hebrew way at Mass: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, “Holy, Holy, Holy”— the Most Holy Lord God.
Three men: the Lord, the Lord, the Lord, Most High God.
As the Greatest Guest of Abraham and Sarah, the Lord got his feet bathed, and got to eat freshly slaughtered, “tender, choice” beef, “curds and milk,” newly baked bread of “fine flour”— all the while sitting in tree-shade cooler than in Abraham’s tent “while the day was growing hot.”
Besides the back and forth of words, we can call to mind the tastes, smells, and weight of the meal, and also the feel of heat and shade.
The Lord, the Lord, the Lord, Most High God was really there, there, there, sitting, resting, eating, and talking.
Despite his REAL PRESENCE, Sarah laughed at the word of the Lord: that even with her aged and dried up body, she with Abraham was to beget Isaac who would father Jacob.
The names of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, together with talk of a banquet, are also in the Gospel today.
In the Gospel, the Lord does not receive lavish, Abrahamic hospitality, but a pagan centurion’s unstinting humility and unmatched faith.
The centurion deems himself unworthy to have the Lord under his roof or at his table, but simply believes in the word of the Lord to heal his unseen servant from afar.
The Lord wants that kind of faith from us.
Here in his Eucharistic Banquet, we do not see the skin, flesh, sinews, or gore of the Lord’s Body and Blood; and we do not get the load that Abraham dished up.
Nonetheless, the Lord, the Lord, the Lord, Most High God is Really, Really, Really Present, Present, Present.
So we follow the centurion in faith, and we use his words at Mass.
It used to be we would say them three times in a row.
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; but only say the word and my soul will be healed.”
The Lord gives his body, he gives his blood, and he gives his word.
“He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
The Lamb of God shoulders our sins, and dies for us.
He is our Shepherd, and we are his flock.
He is our Centurion, and we are his soldiers.
If we are faithful to him, then, “Amen,” he says to us, we “will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”
We shall not gainsay our feelings with Sarah, but let out the open, forthright laughter, laughter, laughter of sons and daughters rejoicing in God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit— the Lord, the Lord, the Lord.