When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached Him and appealed to Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, He was amazed and said to those following Him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”
IN NO ONE IN ISRAEL HAVE I FOUND SUCH FAITH. The centurion in the Gospel is one of those characters who surprise and even shame us. For do we not immediately judge all the Romans who occupied Palestine to be evil and corrupt? And yet the way he shows extraordinary concern for his servant and, even more so, the way he humbles himself before Jesus, uttering what we now say before we receive Holy Communion, makes us really admire him. Where, indeed, can we find such faith even among believers?
The centurion’s example is a warning against prejudice and self-righteousness, and also an invitation to humility, especially when we “talk to” or make our appeals to God in prayer.
The more we humble ourselves, the more we dispose ourselves to receive God’s answer to our prayer.
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