We pray these words before receiving Holy Communion. The centurion may not have intended this for our Eucharistic celebration, but the Church has adopted it as the appropriate words to affirm our humble state in front of the holy teacher and healer Jesus.
The centurion is a Roman army officer in command of 100 soldiers. Yet he finds himself helpless before his servant lying in bed, sick of paralysis. Jesus offers to go and cure the servant. The centurion, however, feels uncomfortable. He is not worthy that Jesus should enter his home. He considers himself a sinner, who senses the great holiness of Jesus, seeing him preach in Capernaum. Entry into a pagan home will make Jesus ritually unclean. Besides, the centurion trusts the power of Jesus’ word; his command is sufficient.
Do we have faith like that of the centurion? It is a faith that brings healing and astounds Jesus.
Gospel • Mt 8:5-11
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.”
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