Gospel Reflection – Monday (18 September) – 24th week of Ordinary Time Faith like a Centurion
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (7: 1-10) in which Jesus responds to the faith of the Centurion with the sick servant, saying ‘Not even in Israel, have I have found such faith as this’. Fr Paul says this story is particularly important to Luke. In Jesus’ first appearance in the synagogue at Nazareth he had promised that, like the prophets Elijah and Elisha, he would bring healing to the gentiles. Now he proceeds to do this, for the centurion is a gentile. Luke is writing his gospel for a gentile audience and misses no opportunity to underline the openness of Jesus to gentiles, and 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 a fine deference to Jesus and humility, but also, he has made generous use of his position and what wealth he had, in building the synagogue. Wealth is always a danger unless it is used well, and an opportunity if it is. Above all, we see his complete trust in Jesus’ healing power, even without physical contact between Jesus and the servant, a trust which Jesus had not experienced even from the Israelites themselves. This trust in Jesus has won the Centurion a place in the Mass, in our prayer of humility immediately before we receive communion we pray the words of the Centurion from today’s Gospel – ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed’. Fr Paul invites us to reflect on these words of the Centurion today for our prayer.