When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.
For I also 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 the slave does it.” When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof…”
For any seasoned Catholic, these words roll right off the tongue. In today’s readings, we find that this phrase reflects the greatest faith, and they’re found on the lips of a Roman centurion of all people!
Just picture the usual gaud of an Imperial official, clad in purples, golds, and reds. This is a man familiar with the top of the hierarchy. Yet, this prestige mocks him as his friend writhes in pain. In this mess, as a gesture of humility, he prays, “Lord, I am not worthy.”
It’s the very character of the Eternal Son to enter under the roof of such a messy situation. In fact, this is Christianity’s central mystery. Although in the form of God, he too becomes a servant for his servants (cf. Philippians 2:6-11). As in the case of the centurion, great faith mirrors the humility of the Son of God. To the humble centurion, the Son replies, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.”
—Jarvis Williams is wrapping up his year of service at Cristo Rey Jesuit in Houston as a part of the Volunteer Service Corps.
Eternal Word, bend my own desires
To match the needs of my neighbor.
Teach me how to pour myself out
Onto the feet of friends and enemies.
Teach me that my life is hollow
Until my character matches yours.
—Jarvis WilliamsPlease share the Good Word with your friends!