Prayer and a Centurion’s Faith
- Reading I: 1 Timothy 2:1-8
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 28
- Gospel Reading: Luke 7:1-10
Prayer for Kings
Paul asks Timothy to tell his constituents to pray for "kings and for all in authority" (v.1). This is paralleled in v. 8 where Paul expresses his desire that the men should pray "lifting up holy hands without anger or argument." Whatever they might feel about the leaders in their city-states and especially with the "Great King" at the center of the Empire, the men should pray for them. Politics is after all the organization of the "polis" (=Greek word for "city"), and the men who are involved in it need God’s help "that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity." All authority comes from God, after all, and so even in political life, the Church contributes through its prayer.
Within Paul’s invitation to pray for political leaders is the reminder that everyone whether they know it or not are under the dominion of God and His Christ. The "mediator" is the "pontifex" which was also a title of the Roman Emperor. But Paul underlines the Church’s conviction that the Pontiff is not the Emperor but Christ.
The Centurion’s Plea
"Lord … I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof … only say the word and my servant will be healed."
The words of the centurion in today’s reading are reflected in the Mass, just before Communion when we say, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I will be healed." The faith of this centurion surprised Jesus and even recommended it to his hearers. It is that faith in the Lord that we give expression to when in communion we prepare to partake of the flesh and blood of the Lord.
The case of the centurion is also an example of how because of one’s faith, another one gets healing from the Lord. In this case, it is the servant of the centurion. Another example is that of the Canaanite woman whose faith made the Lord heal her demon possessed daughter. One gets healing from the Lord not only because of one’s faith. One can receive new life from the Lord because of somebody else’s faith. This is the case of infants in baptism for example who are baptized on the faith "of their parents, godparents and of all the baptized."
Popularity: 4% [?]