Contrary to what my hair style (or lack of) says about me, I have never been in the Military. Many of my relatives have been; and I have nothing but respect for them.
Military men and women spend months and years training. They are trained to be brave; to fight; to make quick decisions; to have self-control; to do things instinctively; and to recognize and respect authority.
In today’s Gospel, we have a Centurion;
“The centurion in the infantry is chosen for his size, strength and dexterity in throwing his missile weapons and for his skill in the use of his sword and shield; in short for his expertness in all the exercises. He is to be vigilant, temperate, active and readier to execute the orders he receives than to talk; Strict in exercising and keeping up proper discipline among his soldiers, in obliging them to appear clean and well-dressed and to have their arms constantly rubbed and bright.”
“They must not be so much venturesome seekers after danger as men who can command, steady in action, and reliable; they ought not to be over-anxious to rush into the fight, but when hard pressed, they must be ready to hold their ground, and die at their posts.”
He is a man who out in the field, who commanded other men; a man who is like the Captain in an army. He is fairly high-ranking official, but still had people above him. Not only that, but he also is Roman, which means that he was a pagan; a man who probably believed in the Roman Gods… bottom-line, not a likely character to visit Jesus.
But here he comes before Jesus, and begs him to heal his servant. Think about it: This man risked ridicule, even possible job loss to meet with Jesus.
But he does so anyway. And he approaches his with such humility and such conviction (trust) that Jesus will provide. He says, “ I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
He recognized Jesus as a man of Authority. Do we recognize Jesus in the same way? And do we approach him with humility and trust?
I believe that is not the only message from our Gospel today. We are also reminded that as followers of Christ, we are to do what God is asking of us… which means we are to listen and answer his call. The Centurion says:
“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.”
We, too, should recognize Jesus’ Authority. When he says, ‘Go,’ we should go; when he says, ‘come here,’ we should come; when he says, ‘Do this,’ we should do it.
Often we spend a lot of times just asking God for things, but we should spend just as much time listening and doing what God asks of us
Let us pray:
Lord, you are good and merciful. Help us to come to you with humility and conviction; to trust that you will provide for our needs. Help us also to be mindful that you have all authority over heaven and earth. Give us the patience to listen to you; and give us the strength, courage, and wisdom to do what is asked of us. We ask this through the intercession of your mother, who is queen, as we pray, Hail Mary…