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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings, New Testament Writers

Prayer and a Centurion’s Faith

Submitted by on Monday, 12 September 2011No Comment

Today’s Readings

hands-lifted-in-worship

  • 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

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"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."

1 Timothy 2:1-8
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men:
2For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity.
3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour,
4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
5For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus:
6Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times.
7Whereunto I am appointed a preacher and an apostle, (I say the truth, I lie not,) a doctor of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
8I will therefore that men pray in every place, lifting up pure hands, without anger and contention.
Luke 7:1-10
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1And when he had finished all his words in the hearing of the people, he entered into Capharnaum.
2And the servant of a certain centurion, who was dear to him, being sick, was ready to die.
3And when he had heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the ancients of the Jews, desiring him to come and heal his servant.
4And when they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying to him: He is worthy that thou shouldest do this for him.
5For he loveth our nation; and he hath built us a synagogue.
6And Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent his friends to him, saying: Lord, trouble not thyself; for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof.
7For which cause neither did I think myself worthy to come to thee; but say the word, and my servant shall be healed.
8For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers: and I say to one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doth it.
9Which Jesus hearing, marvelled: and turning about to the multitude that followed him, he said: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith, not even in Israel.
10And they who were sent, being returned to the house, found the servant whole who had been sick.

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