The centurion's faith

Priest gives communion to an Iraqi woman
Monday of first week of Advent

Gospel of the day: Mt 8:5-13  The healing of the centurion’s servant

Our Lord marvelled at the faith of the centurion who said he was unworthy of such a guest as Jesus. What faith indeed this man must have had for Jesus to have marvelled at this gentile soldier! The centurion was a military commander of one hundred men. According to Luke’s account of this he was responsible for building a synagogue. The witness of the Jewish people had opened this gentile man’s heart to the truth. And before the Christ he stood before the Holy God of Israel, though he did not know it fully; at least intuitively he knew this man was different.

His words are familiar: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” At Mass we say: “Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.”

Our souls, like the centurion’s servant, need to be healed by Christ. We inherit the consequences of Adam’s sin, and while our baptism has absolved us of this original sin, God wills that we should still be subject to its temporal consequences. We still have a tendency to sin. We find the sinful way much easier than the virtuous way. Our souls are not yet fully reconciled to God and thus need healing. Christ alone can heal us.

Christ comes to us as a guest in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. He condescends to make the bread and wine of the Eucharist His most sacred body and most precious blood, that we might welcome Him as a guest and that we might be healed.

How do we approach our Lord Jesus Christ during Mass? Do we approach with the faith of this centurion? Or do we take Him for granted? Do we think it our right to receive the sacrament?

In this season of Advent let us cultivate a sense of the sacred. Try to spend time before a sacred image or a crucifix adoring God and thanking Him for His inestimable gift in the Incarnation and Redemption. Even better try to spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament adoring Christ.