The crowds in today’s Gospel are told by Jesus that he has never seen such faith as the centurion’s who knew that Jesus did not have to be physically present to carry out the deed that must be done–the healing of his slave. He sends friends to tell Jesus not to trouble himself but to just speak the word and the servant will be healed. We are told earlier in Luke’s story that the elders know this man as worthy for he loves the people and has built a synagogue for them. The centurion though tells Jesus that he is not worthy to have him come under his roof. I find it interesting that the man has such a different view of himself than the elders do.
If only we could see each other as other people see us. Clearly, Jesus is impressed by the man’s faith. The Catholic Church uses the words of the centurion at every mass: Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. This is our profession before we receive the Eucharist. We recite the words based on what this man sent to Jesus–his faith is meant to be a role model for us. Can we believe that Jesus can heal us?
I did not make it to mass today. I have been feeling somewhat lazy most of the day–tired, I suppose. I felt badly about not being able to go to mass as it was the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary. Mary has been so present to me these past couple of years while I have been sick. I stopped by the chapel at my church today to pray for a few minutes and to apologize to her.
When I came home, Fr. James Martin, an American Jesuit, was live on Facebook, talking about prayer. I tuned in and caught a lovely explanation of why we pray through the saints. Fr. Martin said that it is similar to when we ask friends to pray for us here. These friends,however, I realized, are in heaven. Having so many people that I do not know pray for me I understood that the saints are the same. I do not know them personally but like the community in Ireland, a Jesuit in Ontario, a Sunday School in Iowa, my goddaughter in Nairobi, my friend in Singapore, the prayer warriors that originate in British Columbia, or my family and friends right here, these saints are praying for me. A little light bulb went on when Fr. Martin said that–as if I had learned something I had never grasped. I loved the image.
So many prayers continue to be lifted for me. On Saturday, the priest presiding over mass at the prison checked in with me–you are Suzanne, right? When I nodded he told me he had been praying for me. He had been told by another priest friend of mine about my illness. He is the second priest I have met who has mentioned he is praying for me. I am so very grateful for these–and all the other–prayers being lifted up. Like the centurion, I know that Jesus himself does not need to trouble himself by entering under my roof, but like the man, my elders and friends bring my needs to him. What a gift this is!
What is your level of faith about healing?
Do you have family, friends, and elders bringing petitions to Jesus on your behalf?
Stop right there, Jesus! There is no need to take another step. I know you have this from right where you are. I am grateful for my friends and elders who petition on my behalf. May my faith be strong enough to trust that you are at work, even if I do not see you, even if I believe I am not worthy, even if you are already on the way to be with me in my need. Amen.