Jesus heals many including the Centurion’s servant

Continuing from yesterday, the healing episodes mentioned in Matthew’s Gospel today (8: 5-17) relate to the first three (out of ten) miracles Jesus works after the Sermon on the Mount. Fr Paul says that similar to yesterday’s cleansing of the leper, the ones mentioned today centre on the authority of Jesus. Today we have the curing of the Centurion’s servant followed by the curing of Peter’s mother-in-law.

In the first part of the Gospel, Matthew is telling us that Jesus came to heal the Gentiles as well as the Jews – that Jesus came to heal everyone!

As we listen to the exchange between the Centurion and Jesus, it is the Centurion’s faith that is the example for us.  The Centurion’s words of faith (‘I am not worthy to have you under my roof just give the word and my servant will be cured’) are the very ones we use each time we celebrate Mass, just prior to receiving communion, and are meant to be an expression of faith for us, too.

Jesus is not present with the Centurion’s servant – the servant is cured the moment Jesus says it will happen. He is present with Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. Both cases harken to the authority of Jesus.

Given the debate that has raged over the centuries about married clergy, Fr Paul says we have the evidence here, at least in scriptural terms that Peter (our first Pope and the leader of our Church to whom Jesus passed his mission) was married because he had a mother-in-law.

Mindful of these examples of the authority of Jesus and of the pattern we see again in the actions of the Centurion (he had a need, he came to Jesus so that his need might be answered), Fr Paul says we might reflect on our lives and ask ‘What needs to I have? What healing am I in need of?’ and bring them to Jesus inviting his healing touch into our lives.