Faith and an Open Heart

16 September 2019. Memorial of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian

Reflection (Sem. Justin G. Gatus)

I couldn’t count the number of times when I was given the feedback, “You know what, do not overanalyze things! Sometimes, you just have to believe!” There were many instances wherein my faith in God was challenged by many circumstances due to my own prejudices and biases towards others and most especially towards myself. I remember one of the patients I visited during my Clinical Pastoral Education. He belongs to the Seventh Day Adventist. Initially, I was hesitant to approach him because I got many rejections from them, but this one was different. As I entered the room, he was the first one to greet me. He welcomed me and trustingly shared his stories to me. I did not do anything except to listen enthusiastically and attentively. Then finally, he asked me, “Are you a pastor or a priest?” and I replied, “I am Catholic and a seminarian”. What followed touched my heart. He thanked me for listening to him. He said that he felt that Jesus was the one who visited and listened to him. He even said a blessing for me and prayed that I may become a good priest someday.

                I may have my own principles and beliefs but these must not hinder me to go out and meet Jesus in others. Just like the centurion in today’s Gospel, he knew his place and kept his faith in Jesus firmly. The Gospel invites me to a higher level of openness. Through this openness, God’s grace can enter and pass even through my beliefs and principles, and thus work in me. I do not have to overanalyze things and go back to my own principles and beliefs. I should always allow God’s grace to work in me by surrendering my will, my intellect, and my freedom to God with active passivity. Faith works in an open heart—a heart free from fears, attachments, and biases. Just like the centurion, I pray that even in moments of trials and difficulties, I can say “Lord, I am not worthy, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”

The Gospel Today

Luke 7: 1 – 10

When Jesus had finished all his words to the people,
he entered Capernaum.
A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die,
and he was valuable to him.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him,
asking him to come and save the life of his slave.
They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying,
“He deserves to have you do this for him,
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”
And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
“Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.
For I too am a person subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, Go, and he goes;
and to another, Come here, and he comes;
and to my slave, Do this, and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him
and, turning, said to the crowd following him,
“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
When the messengers returned to the house,
they found the slave in good health.

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