First Reading: Isaiah 4:2-6
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 122
Gospel: Matthew 8:5-11
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 8:5-11)
Does today's gospel reading sound strangely familiar? Well it should since we reference the line of the centurion soldier at each mass. At each mass, before we receive Jesus through the Eucharist, we say; "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, only say the word and I shall be healed." These words almost echo those said by the centurion to Christ in today's gospel; "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant shall be healed." One of the things I love about the Church and about the mass is all the rich tradition and wisdom that has been passed to us over the years. This example is one of many that we have today.
The centurion in today's gospel demonstrates a faith and a knowing in the power of Christ that seems to be uncommon. This is why Jesus is so amazed at his faith! The centurion understands that he has no power to save himself or his servant, but that saving grace comes from God alone. Nothing that we can ever do or say is going to make us worthy of Christ's love, we must simply humble ourselves and ask Jesus to only say the word for us to be healed and to have everlasting life. I pray that each of us can have the faith in Christ that the centurion soldier displays in today's gospel. May the Lord increase our faith and hope along this journey.
Reflection on Advent:
Since we have entered into the season of advent, a time of great excitement and expectation. I would like to share a reading that I came across recently in hopes that you will be inspired as I was:
"Dearest Brothers and Sisters: With today's first Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins. The Church takes up her journey again, and invites us to reflect more intensely on the mystery of Christ, a mystery that is always new and that time cannot exhaust. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Thanks to Him, the history of humanity proceeds as a pilgrimage toward the fulfillment of the Kingdom which He inaugurated with His incarnation and victory over sin and death.
-John Paul II, Angelus, December 2, 2001