Margaret, Queen of Scotland, Philanthropist, Reformer of the Church, 1093.
Edmund Rich of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1240.
Text for the Reflection
Matthew 8: 5-13
When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralysed, in terrible distress.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and cure him.’ The centurion answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’ When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.’ And the servant was healed in that hour.
In chapter 8, we read a series of healing miracles and the height of all of them is the healing of a centurion slave in Capernaum. It is the centurion who first approached Jesus with the request for the healing of his slave. Jesus accepted the invitation and what follows is a great confession by the centurion. ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’ In response, Jesus testified that he had never seen such faith in the whole of Israel. The following issues are important for our faith.
- Humility-the centurion came to Christ with humility. He was a man of power and authority but came on behalf of his servant for Christ to heal him. Christ’s word alone heals the man.
- Caring, he cares for and is concerned about his servant. Although the servant is a slave, he does not treat him as one. In fact, he is dear to the centurion, and so his suffering moves the centurion to compassion.
- Faith, he has obvious faith in Christ’s ability to heal. themselves of more importance and worth than is realistic.
Let Us Pray
Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son was revealed to destroy the works of the devil and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life: grant that we, having this hope,
may purify ourselves even as he is pure; that when he shall appear in power and great glory we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen