Faith and Humility

Luke 7: 1-10
1 Cor 11:17-26,33 / Ps 40

Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof… but only say the word and my servant will be healed.
(Luke 7:6,7)

The higher one’s authority,
The greater his responsibility…
And the more we should seek to be
Like that centurion in humility

When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to Him, asking Him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with Him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following Him, He said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well. (Luke 7:1-10)

Reflection

From his words one can discern the centurion’s humble character and his great respect for Jesus. (“Lord, don’t trouble yourself. . . I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you.”) Although he was a man of great authority, with one hundred soldiers at his disposal, this Roman soldier was keenly sensitive to the tradition of the Jews. Being a gentile, he did not want to inconvenience Jesus and His friends by receiving them into his household and “being defiled”. But being a man of authority himself, the centurion saw Jesus as One Who possessed great power, power that could heal his sick servant by the mere mention of His word. “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” (7:7) Luke’s account does not record that Jesus even spoke a word, though probably He did in order to satisfy the emissaries. “The men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.”

Aside from his humility and respectful nature, the centurion must have possessed many other admirable qualities, as testified to by the Jewish elders (normally anti-Romans) who came to Jesus in his behalf. “He loves our nation, and he built the synagogue for us.” (7:5) But his real greatness lay in his abiding faith in the word of Jesus. To this our Lord marveled, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” (7:9) For a man of power whose job prized ferocity and self-reliance, whose background was paganism, who could have anything he wanted in his area of responsibility, Jesus explicitly identified the centurion as an example of great faith.

How deep is our faith compared to that of the centurion? As Catholics, do we really believe that our Lord Jesus is the Holy Eucharist that we receive in the Mass, after we pray, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I will be healed”? Two thousand years have passed since those words were first spoken, but nothing has really changed. In our corner of the world, we are the private, sergeant, lieutenant, or captain carrying out the orders of our Commander-in-Chief, with His full authority and power backing us up to accomplish the mission assigned to us. His Word carries the same miracle that can execute God’s will across any time or distance whatsoever. The message is simply faith, like that centurion’s faith and humility, to believe that our God is a loving God Who will heal and set right all the infirmities and injustices of this world in His time. If a mere pagan then could believe it, there is no justifiable reason why we can’t.

We have put our faith in Your Word, dear God; sustain it with the guidance of Your Holy Spirit. Inspire us to keep Your Word the top priority in our lives. Amen.

One Response to “Faith and Humility”

  1. Joseph  on September 17th, 2010

    amen, amen, amen.