The blessings of God’s Kingdom are given to all who have faith and not only to the Jews. The centurion recognizes that even though he possesses authority as a military commander, there is someone greater than he. He petitions the elders to approach Jesus on his behalf because he feels unworthy to ask Jesus personally, knowing the prejudices that separate Jews from Gentiles. Yet the centurion is certain that God’s power flows from Jesus, and no barrier can hinder God’s grace from working; there is no need even for Jesus to come to his house.
Theologian Karl Rahner believes that “anonymous Christians” who are open to Christ’s grace through faith, hope, and love are granted supernatural grace. Although they have no explicit knowledge of Jesus Christ, their lives are oriented in grace-given salvation to Jesus Christ.
Gospel • LUKE 7:1-10
When Jesus had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.” And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant 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 at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
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