The Centurion’s Faith

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

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.”
(Luke 7:9)

The higher our authority,
The greater our responsibility,
And the more we should seek to be
Like that centurion in humility.

When Jesus had finished saying all this to 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

What are the remarkable traits of the Roman Centurion in this story? First of all, contrary to what we might expect from the commander of a conquering pagan army, he was a Christian at heart who valued the life of his servant, to the extent of seeking outside help for his healing. From the testimony of some elders who pleaded with Jesus in his behalf, he was a good man who had a high regard for the faith and tradition of the Jews, because he “loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” They held him in high esteem. Even though the Centurion had a considerable amount of power over that district in Capernaum, he behaved in a very humble way, asking others to intercede to the Master for him, and later on even asking Jesus not to trouble Himself anymore because he was not worthy to receive Him in his home. Finally, as Jesus Himself exalted him, the Centurion had great faith, more than anyone in Israel. He firmly believed that Jesus was God, Who had the power to heal his servant by just giving the command, as he himself had power over his subordinates. Jesus explicitly identified the Centurion as an example of true faith.

How does our faith measure up 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. Our Lord Jesus still delegates His authority and power to His soldiers in the field. 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 reason why we cannot have the same faith today.

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.

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