By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: September 18, 2017
September 18, 2017

Gospel LK 7:1-10

When Jesus had finished all his words to the people,
he entered Capernaum.
A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die,
and he was valuable to him.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him,
asking him to come and save the life of his slave.
They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying,
“He deserves to have you do this for him,
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”
And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
“Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.
For I too am a person 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 at him
and, turning, said to the crowd following him,
“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
When the messengers returned to the house,
they found the slave in good health.

Reflection:

In today’s gospel Jesus heals the centurion’s servant from afar. There are valuable life lessons to be learned from this Roman soldier who lived over two thousand years ago.

A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die,
and he was valuable to him.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him,
asking him to come and save the life of his slave.

The centurion was a considerate man; he knew Jesus would have been criticized for speaking to a Gentile. So, rather than put Jesus in a compromising position, he sent “elders of the Jews” to plead with Jesus to cure his sick servant.

There is a lesson here for me. Am I considerate of my immigrant neighbor’s customs and traditions? Have I even bothered to learn what country they came from?

They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying,
“He deserves to have you do this for him,
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”

The centurion was a foreigner, part of an occupying military force in a enemy land; he was not of the Jewish faith. Yet, they said of him, “….he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”

Can I imitate the radical love and humility of the centurion? Can I be generous and kind to those I consider to be my enemy?

Our Lord clearly understood and admired the centurion, for in the Gospel of Luke 6:27, Jesus told us, “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies.”

And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
“Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.”

Two thousand years later, as I prepare to receive the body of Christ at Mass,
I am invited to repeat the words of the humble centurion “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

When I echo the centurion’s words just before receiving the Body of Christ, do I respond out of habit or, am I truly in touch with my own unworthiness?

When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him
and, turning, said to the crowd following him,
“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
When the messengers returned to the house,
they found the slave in good health.

For it is only through our humble recognition of our own unworthiness that we become worthy of His love and forgiveness, and restored to “good health.”

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself: it is thinking of yourself less.” Unknown



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