When Jesus entered Capernaum, an army captain approached him to ask his help, «Sir, my servant lies sick at home. He is paralyzed and suffers terribly». Jesus said to him, «I will come and heal him». The captain answered, «I am not worthy to have you under my roof. Just give an order and my boy will be healed. For I myself, a junior officer, give orders to my soldiers. And if I say to one: ‘Go’, he goes, and if I say to another: ‘Come’, he comes, and to my servant: ‘Do this’, he does it».
When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those who were following him, «I tell you, I have not found such faith in Israel. I say to you, many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven».
Though we may be blessed with plenty, there will be a day, we may be forced to surrender before God and to make a supplication. It is possible, that we may not be blessed with plenty, (though it is not truth, because God gives us according our capacity), we should learn to look at the direct direction and approach the right person. In Any case, this Centurion, or the army captain did the right thing, the best he could do then.
Like him, we should learn to look at the right direction, and never be closed with, what we don’t have and be sad. It is important in our life that we don’t lose our hope, for the Lord is always there at our door side.
To do this, we should be filled with gratitude of what we have received, humble before the greatness of God, and be courageous with hope. We all have this spiritual fight of losing to gain. This Centurion was ready to lose everything to get what he desired from the Lord. He left behind his authority, his religion, his boundary, etc. To fill us, we should learn to empty ourselves. We have to ask ourselves, what I have emptied to receive from the Lord.
This week we will meditate on the theme of ‘watching and praying’. Let us be watchful that we may not be broken by the negative impulses, rather filled with hope and joy, advancing towards the Lord.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
Welcoming the Lord Jesus with expectant faith and humility, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"When the Lord promised to go to the centurion's house to heal his servant, the centurion answered, 'Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.' By viewing himself as unworthy, he showed himself worthy for Christ to come not merely into his house but also into his heart. He would not have said this with such great faith and humility if he had not already welcomed in his heart the One who came into his house. It would have been no great joy for the Lord Jesus to enter into his house and not to enter his heart. For the Master of humility both by word and example sat down also in the house of a certain proud Pharisee, Simon, and though he sat down in his house, there was no place in his heart. For in his heart the Son of Man could not lay his head" (Matthew 8:20). (excerpt from SERMON 62.1)
«I tell you, I have not found such faith in Israel»
Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García
(Sant Quirze del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, Capernaum is our city and our village, where there are sick people, some we know, others anonymous, often forgotten because of the hectic rhythm of life that we lead. Loaded with work, we rush about non-stop without thinking of those who, due to their illness or for whatever other circumstance, remain marginalised from the frenetic activity of our world. However, Jesus told us: «Truly, I say to you: whenever you did this to these little ones who are my brothers and sisters, you did it to me» (Mt 25:40). The great thinker Blaise Pascal follows this idea when he says that «in his believers, Jesus finds himself in the agony of Gethsemane until the end of time».
The centurion of Capernaum does not forget about his servant who is ill in bed, because he loves him. In spite of being more powerful and having more authority than his servant, the centurion is grateful to him because of all his years of help and appreciates him very much. Because of that, he approaches Jesus, and in the Saviour's presence, manages to make an extraordinary confession of faith, seen in the liturgy of the Eucharist: «I am not worthy to have you under my roof. Just give an order and my servant will be healed» (Mt 8:8). This confession is based on hope; it comes from the centurion's faith in the Lord and, at the same time, from his feeling of lack personal worthiness, which makes him aware of his own neediness.
We can only approach Jesus with a humble attitude, like that of the centurion. That way we can live the hope of Advent: the hope of salvation and life, of reconciliation and peace. Only he who acknowledges his poverty and realizes that the meaning of life is not to be found in himself, but in God, in turning his life over to Him, can really have hope. Let's approach Christ confidently, and, at the same time, make the centurion's prayer our own.