SEPTEMBER 13. Ord Time B. Wk 24. Mon. Lk. 7. 1-10
When Jesus had come to the end of all he wanted the people to hear, he went into Capernaum. A centurion there had a servant, a favourite of his, who was sick and near death. Having heard about Jesus he sent some Jewish elders to him to ask him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus they pleaded earnestly with him. ‘He deserves this of you’ they said ‘because he is friendly towards our people; in fact, he is the one who built the synagogue.’ So Jesus went with them, and was not very far from the house when the centurion sent word to him by some friends: ‘Sir,’ he said ‘do not put yourself to trouble; because I am not worthy to have you under my roof; and for this same reason I did not presume to come to you myself; but give the word and let my servant 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 these words he was astonished at him and, turning round, said to the crowd following him, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found faith like this.’ And when the messengers got back to the house they found the servant in perfect health.
Many Christians have faith but what happens frequently is that we do not do anything with it, and as it happens yesterday’s first reading from St James highlighted this truth when he said: “faith without good works is dead!”
The centurion in today’s Gospel was clearly both a good man, and one with a very deep faith which he bore witness to by his actions; - which contrasts with many of us who have very few actions that bear witness to our faith.
Because of his faith and generosity this man’s servants were able to tell Jesus he deserved the help he was seeking for his sick servant, because he was friendly towards the people, and had even built the temple in Capernaum; - which indicated he was following the teachings Jesus had just elaborated on in his Sermon on the Mount.
But his actions in today’s readings demonstrated the centurion’s faith even more, because he saw himself as being unworthy to even come to Jesus; - which was why he sent his friends to tell him he was unworthy.
A significant point in this parable, easily overlooked, is Jesus never spoke with the centurion himself because of his unworthiness; - and all the exchanges took place through third parties.
And not only did he not come to Jesus himself, but he bore witness to his strong faith in the message the sent; - “I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it!”
This had such an impact on Jesus we are told that he was astonished, and he said to the crowds; - “‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found faith like this!”
What this gospel highlights is the importance of Christians being able to point to evidence of their faith in their daily life; - something this centurion was easily able to do, leaving Jesus “astonished!”
As St James pointed out; - “Faith without works is dead!”
Gospel Acclamation Jn3:16
God loved the world so much, he gave us his only Son,
that all who believe in him might have eternal life.
First reading 1 Timothy 2:1-8 ·
Pray for everyone to God, who wants everyone to be saved
My advice is that, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone – petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving – and especially for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet. To do this is right, and will please God our saviour: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time, and I have been named a herald and apostle of it and – I am telling the truth and no lie – a teacher of the faith and the truth to the pagans.
In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.