Daily Reflection – Sep 12, 2016
Monday 12 September 2016
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33
Proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again
Psalm 39(40):7-10, 17
Gospel Reading: Luke 7:1-10
Today’s Feast: The Most Holy Name of Mary (Optional Memorial)
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.
Lord . . . I am not worthy. (Luke 7:6)
What faith! This centurion—a Gentile—makes a humble confession to Jesus, admitting that he is not worthy to have Jesus enter his home. He even sends Jewish elders to plead his case for him because he feels it would be inappropriate for him to approach so holy a man!
Now contrast his words with the words of the elders who spoke up for him: “He deserves to have you do this for him,” they urge, because of his generosity toward the Jews (Luke 7:4).
Which of these two approaches is right? Is the centurion unworthy or deserving? Should he seek healing for his servant on the basis of his previous acts of kindness? Or should he throw himself at Jesus’ feet and beg for mercy—for undeserved grace and favor? As in so many other situations, the answer isn’t either-or. It’s both-and.
This is good news. It can be easy to forget that we depend on God’s mercy for every breath we take. Every good attribute we have is a gift from his generous hand. It can also be easy to think that Jesus “owes” us a favor because of our faithfulness. But in reality, we owe him everything we are and everything we have. He is our Savior, not our business partner; he is our Lord, not our next-door neighbor.
At the same time, God wants us to know that he sees every good thing that we do, and it pleases him. He sees every act of kindness, he hears every prayer of repentance and trust, and he feels all the compassion we have for the people around us. All of these actions move him to respond with love, healing, and grace.
As we get closer to the Lord, we become both humble and bold at the same time. We know we are not worthy, but we also know how merciful our God is. The Church helps us learn this balance by placing the centurion’s words on our lips at every Mass, just before we take the bold step of approaching the altar and receiving Jesus in Communion. May we all become like this centurion, filled with the humble confidence of faith!
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Only say the word, and my soul will be healed.”