The Faith of the Centurion

As he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him,    beseeching him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion answered him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I 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 he does it.” When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.”  And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.  (Matthew 8:5-13)

In this Gospel lesson we encounter a man of faith, even though he is not a Jew, not of the chosen people, but one who is able to recognize the power of God at work in the life, ministry and work of Jesus Christ.

“A Roman officer whose servant was seriously ill asked Jesus to heal him. Jesus agreed to come to the sick man. But the officer said that He need not trouble Himself: ‘I am not worthy to have You come under my roof….But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a  man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes; and to another “Come”,  and he comes; and I say to my slave, “Do this”, and he does it.’ This pagan officer felt the power of God in the person of Jesus, and his words filled Jesus with admiration: ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ And the servant was healed in that same hour. The centurion’s confidence was such that he understood that Jesus’ power was that of the Creator Himself.  This, too, is what Simon Peter recognized when he answered Jesus’ question, ‘But whom  do you say that I am?’ by replying: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ (Matt. 16:15-16) ” (The Living God: A Catechism, pp 138-139)

 

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