The Gospel according to 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.”
Reflection: This story of the centurion reminds me of Major General, William F. Mullen II, USMC who was in charge of Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Base whom I had the pleasure to meet. He was the head guy, the top dog who controlled the 1000’s of men and women on base. He was a tough and rugged guy by his own rights. And ready to go to battle with these Marines anytime. But yet he was humble, respectful, compassionate, and kind. He truly cared for his women and men.
At one event, I heard him speak about these Marines getting P.T. (Physical Training) and preparing themselves for battle at any given time. He spoke about these men and women also preparing their minds for battle because they may not return home because they are giving the ultimate sacrifice for their country and their family. But then the Major General started to talk about S.T. I recall thinking to myself … S.T.?! What is that?! He was referring to Spiritual Training. WOW! That’s amazing!
These women and men were also trained and prepared for battle through their own spiritual life. It didn’t matter what religion they were from, although he was a Catholic, Major General made sure his men and women were ready through prayer.
In this story, there is something saintly about this centurion. He is a model of compassion, humility, and humbleness. Taking great pains on behalf of a slave.
In those days, the more common attitude would have been to discard a slave once he could no longer work. Although this officer of the Imperial Army begs a favor of this travelling rabbi. And this man of power is a model of faith, recognizing the authority of Jesus, who marvels at him.
As the new liturgical year began yesterday, reflect upon the fact that God is calling you to become wide awake. He wants your full attention, and He wants you to be completely fit with P.T. and S.T. in your life of faith. Put your eyes on Him and let Him keep you continually prepared for battle.
Action of the Day: Prepare yourself for all the battles that surround us. Ask God to prepare you for anything that should happen and be ready to fight with your faith.