Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (7: 1-10) in which a Centurion asks Jesus to come and heal his servant.Fr Paul says the story we hear of the Centurion in Luke’s Gospel is really important to Luke. When Jesus’ first appeared in the synagogue at Nazareth, he had promised that, like the prophets Elijah and Elisha, he would bring healing to the gentiles. Now he starts to do this, for the Centurion is a gentile, though he may not necessarily be Roman. Luke is writing this Gospel for a gentile audience and misses no opportunity to underline the openness of Jesus to gentiles, even the hated Samaritans. The Centurion is the right person to benefit from this first cure of a gentile, for not only does he show respect and humility to Jesus, but the Centurion has also made generous use of his position and wealth. As we hear, it was he who had the synagogue built. Wealth is always a danger unless it is used well. Above everything else, though, we see the Centurion has complete trust in Jesus. He has complete trust in Jesus’ healing power even without any physical contact with Jesus. Without any contact with the servant of this Centurion, Jesus experiences a trust he had not experienced even from the Israelites themselves. Fr Paul says, whether we realise it or not, this trust displayed by the Centurion has earned him a place in every Mass we celebrate, because his trust is reflected in our prayer of humility immediately before we receive communion: ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed’. In closing, Fr Paul suggests we might reflect on the trust of the Centurion for our time of prayer and reflection today.
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