Depth of faith

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Jun de Ocampo SVD (Germany)

Monday 1st Week of Advent

Mt 8:5-11

There is a line in this Gospel that sounds very familiar to every mass goer. This is the prayer of response to the priest‘s invitation to Holy Communion when he raises the   host saying, “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” And we   all respond, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say   the word and my soul shall be healed.”   

In today‘s Gospel, Jesus was on his way to the house of a centurion (who is an unbeliever, and therefore unclean in the eyes of the Jews) in order to heal the latter‘s servant whom Jesus never met. The centurion found it inappropriate that Jesus, a Jew,   should enter a pagan‘s house. So he pleaded: “Lord, only say the word and my servant shall be healed.” 

What amazed Jesus was the centurion‘s depth of faith which even   surpassed that of any Jewish believer of his time.   If we could only translate the centurion‘s amazing humility and faith to ourselves   each time we receive our Lord in Holy Communion, then every word in this prayer   would help us deeply realize whom we are about to encounter. “It is the Lord!”  exclaimed Peter when he realized it was Jesus during one of His post-resurrection appearances. And who are we? Peter could only say, “Depart from me, for I am a  sinner.” 

And what can the Lord do to us when we receive him into our mortal bodies?   If he healed the centurion‘s servant instantly of his physical ailment, he could also heal us, here and now, not only our physical ailments, but also spiritual ailments as well. And so we pray, “But only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”  

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