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Thought for the weekend: When the Lord makes us whole and worthy of Him

By Canon Walter Lewis

Published 28/05/2016

Looking back, the 1960s were a wonderful time to be alive and to be a student in University College, and Trinity College, Dublin. Term had hardly begun and I met fellow student John Feeney.

Together we founded a branch of the Student Christian Movement, with more than 1,000 attending meetings crammed to overflowing to hear burning topical issues discussed - Vatican 2, Apartheid in South Africa, the Vietnam War, contraception, the Reformation, suicide, etc. Anti-Apartheid and anti-Vietnam War marches were organised, as well as religious conferences and retreats..

The SCM captured the ferment in young people's thinking, and grew from strength to strength, attracting large numbers of students, people from religious orders, seminarians from Clonliffe College and Maynooth, student nuns, and members of the de Valera and FitzGerald families.

Through these important and exciting days, John Feeney and I worked closely together with great success to promote the work of both Christian societies, SCM and Pax Romana.

One sunny summer day, John and I took a walk across St Stephen's Green, down Grafton Street, along a narrow street and into a small Roman Catholic Church where Mass was being celebrated. John and I received Communion.

Words from that service come vividly to my mind: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you under my roof. Only say the word and my servant will be healed".

These were the words of the Roman centurion to Jesus, from St Luke's Gospel, about his slave who was sick and close to death. Jesus marvelled at the centurion's faith and healed his slave.

It is understandable that these words were part of the Communion service we had just attended.

Yes, because we are sinners we are not worthy to receive Jesus. Yet, as we turn to Jesus, he will speak the word and we, and our friends, will be healed.

I leave these words with you. They will be read out in Christian churches around the world tomorrow.

They will bring comfort and reassurance to many.

Yes, we are never worthy to ask anything of Jesus. But we can approach him in faith and penitence, and all will be made well for you and for me!

Sadly, John, who went on to be a fine journalist, died in the Eastbourne air accident in the south of England in 1984, along with eight others.

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