Today we meditate on one of the most amazing passages of the Gospel. It reminds us of the origin of the prayer we say during Mass. Before communion, at the invitation of the priest saying: “Behold the Lamb of God….” we reply: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say a word and my soul shall be healed”.
Importance of Witnessing to the Good News
The encounter between Jesus and a Centurion of the roman empire teaches us a lot as far as faith is concerned. I want to draw our attention to a point here: the Centurion probably didn’t meet Jesus physically; he believed in Jesus thanks to testimonies of others. Through his faith he encountered Jesus spiritually whereas among those who saw Jesus physically, he didn’t encounter such a great faith. This shows us that it is possible for us to really have a spiritual and life-giving changing encounter with Jesus today. But also, others will believe in Jesus if we talk about him with conviction, if we are ready to share our faith with others.
Charity Beyond Borders
The Jewish elders intervened on behalf of the Centurion whose servant was ill. They implored Jesus saying: “He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he built the synagogue for us”. The saying that one good turn deserves another resonates here. The good we do to others returns to us in the form of divine blessings. Charity works are like perfume, their smell is pleasing to self and to others. This Gospel gives us a good example of fraternity beyond borders, whether religious or cultural.
Jesus is Really Compassionate
It is good to note that Jesus was in Capernaum when the request to go and save the life of the slave of the Centurion was presented to him. The etymology of Capernaum speaks to us: Kfar Nahum means village of compassion, of consolation or “village of the Comforter”. So, we can say that moved with compassion, Jesus set off right away. This shows us that God is moved, he is touched by our pleas and will not delay in answering us. In Luke 18: 7-8: Jesus said: “And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly.” However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
While Jesus was still on the way, the Centurion sends his friends to Him saying: “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof…but say the word and let my servant be healed”. What a great faith expressed with humility! The Centurion made Jesus understand that he has soldiers under him and when he commands, they obey him. In other words, if an ordinary person commands his soldiers and they obey him, Jesus has abundant power to command that his slave be healed even from a distance. Jesus understood rapidly the point this man made and expressed His amazement. And turning to the crowd following Him he says: “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith”.
Believing in the power of the word of God, in what Jesus can do in our lives, is a very beautiful spiritual attitude that we need to cultivate in us. This Gospel challenges us as to how we relate with the Lord. When we talk to the Lord, do we really believe in what we say?
Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. So let us be encouraged to believe in the power of the word of God, to pray with faith for all. Our mission is to pray and do works of charity. And God will always do justice to his children who cry to Him day and night.