The Centurion’s Faith (Mt. 8:5-11)
- Reading I: Isaiah 4:2-6
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 122:1-2,3-4b, 4cd-5, 6-7, 8-9
- Gospel Reading: Matthew 8:5-11
The story of the centurion’s faith is something that Matthew has in common with Luke (7:1-10) and is similar to John 4:46-54. As in Luke, the account of the healing of the centurion’s slave reflects on a foreigner’s faith. In Luke, this is somehow mitigated since the centurion is presented as a God-fearer (an anticipation of the figure of Cornelius?). In Matthew, however, the centurion’s faith is contrasted with those who are of "small faith" and is presented as something that even to Jesus is surprising.
See: You of Little Faith
In Matthew, the centurion’s faith becomes an occassion for Jesus to warn those following him of the possibility that the "children of the kingdom" may be left out of the Messianic banquet unless they have such faith (vv. 12-13). In the similar story found in John, the remote healing of the royal official’s child is given as the second sign given in Cana which is linked to the first one: a sign of the eschatological gift of eternal life. Note the correspondence between the two stories: the one with the Messianic banquet,and the other with eternal life. Both are eschatological. Faith connects one with the things that God reserves for those He loves.
Guide for Actualization
Just before communion we say: "Lord I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed." This phrase echoes that of the centurion and is a request for Jesus’ healing word. Before so great a mystery as that of the Body and Blood of the Lord given to us as food, we declare our unworthiness and ask Him to make us worthy.
What is true of communion is true most of our lives: God has reserved so much for us but we render ourselves unworthy of those good things. The centurion could not allow Jesus to enter his house because of his delicadeza, his awareness of Jewish ritual purity requirements. We know that the only thing incompatible with Jesus in our lives is sin. What are the "things" you find in yourself that is incompatible with the Lord?
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