1st November

Today’s gospel passage was Matt 8:5-11

When Jesus went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘myCENTURION servant is lying at home paralysed, and in great pain.’ ‘I will come myself and cure him’ said Jesus. The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’

When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven.

In my few words after reading the gospel, I spoke about Advent as a time of grace, of God’s favour in which we are invited to deepen our faith in the perpetual coming and presence of the Lord Jesus in our world. The story of the Roman centurion is given to us as a model in this regard.

Firstly we can see his appreciation of Jesus’ greatness. Even though he was a great man himself with many under his authority, he recognises that he is not worthy to have Jesus under the roof of his house. (We use the same expression of humility before we receive Jesus in Holy Communion.)

Secondly we can see the centurion’s confidence in Jesus’ goodness. If he didn’t think that Jesus was going to be sympathetic to his petition, it would only have been a waste of time to even ask him. Jesus is quick to demonstrate his eagerness to respond to the petition: ‘I will come myself and cure him’ . It is worth noting the goodness of the centurion himself. Most people of rank wouldn’t be too bothered by the problems of their servants.

Will Garfield bother to come to the help of his master Jon?!!!!