JUNE 26. Ord Time. B. Wk. 12. Sat. Mt.8. 5-17
When Jesus went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed, and in great pain.’ ‘I will come myself and cure him’ said Jesus. The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’
When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven; but the subjects of the kingdom will be turned out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’ And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go back, then; you have believed, so let this be done for you.’ And the servant was cured at that moment.
And going into Peter’s house Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
That evening they brought him many who were possessed by devils. He cast out the spirits with a word and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:
“He took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases for us”.
It is very clear that the primary teaching in today’s Gospel is about the need for Faith, with the centurion’s faith causing Jesus to be “astonished”; - which shows that a deep faith at this early stage of Christ’s public life was extremely rare.
The centurion’s explanation of his faith only deepened Christ’s admiration, as he likened his divine power to that of one with authority; - indicating whatever Christ wanted done would be done; - because he was from God!
And is this not what our Faith does for us? Giving us great confidence, not only in Christ’s power; - but also in his Love and Mercy; - which we are able to call on at any time, and in any situation; - even though “we are not worthy!”
And this was the second aspect of Christ’s meeting with the centurion, in that the man was very aware of his human failings; - and he proclaimed this truth publicly when he confessed he was not worthy of having Christ come to his home.
As a result of his unworthiness, he then went on to demonstrate just how deep his Faith was, when he gave Jesus a way to deal with his unworthiness to receive a visit; - “just give the word and my servant will be cured!”
It was a remarkable encounter so early in Jesus public life. This man had a need which he was unable to deal with himself, so he turned to the one he believed was from God, and placed his trust; - not only in his power and authority; - but also in his love, mercy and compassion; - as he was very aware of his human failings and his inability to cure his servant.
And, is this not what Jesus wants of Christians when we have problems we cannot deal with; - that we turn to God with a humble faith; - appealing to his Mercy, Love and Compassion?
Gospel Acclamation Mt8:17
He bore our sicknesses;
he endured our suffering.