As we begin Advent, Fr Paul Gooley reads from Matthew’s Gospel (8: 5-11) in which we hear the story of the centurion who seeks Jesus out to ask for help for a servant of his household who was at home paralyzed and in great pain. Fr Paul says this Gospel reading makes an important statement at the start of Advent: that salvation is not just for the Chosen People, but for people of all nations who are prepared to come to Jesus, just like the centurion does in the Gospel. The centurion can hardly have been a Jew, perhaps a Roman, perhaps an auxiliary from some other nation in the service of Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee. The centurion knows his absolute authority over his troops, but that knowledge has taught him, also, that it has its limits. It has taught him also what respect and reverence are for the values of others. In Capernaum, the lakeside town where Jesus seems to have taken up residence after he was hounded out of Nazareth, the centurion is the first gentile to recognise Jesus, and to submit his own military authority to a higher authority, an authority with power over life itself. But is there a warning too? The citizens of Capernaum were no doubt waiting with confidence for salvation, too, but they failed to take it when it came. The Gospel writer of Matthew’s Gospel, a Jew is well aware of the position and promises of Israel, and yet he has no hesitation in telling us that Jesus has found no one in Israel that has such faith as the centurion. In closing, Father Paul asks: ‘As Advent begins, are we the same? Are we putting our trust elsewhere, maybe in the commercial, so that the joy of Christ and the impending birth is lost and passing us by? ‘