December 2, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Matthew 8:5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”
He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”
The centurion said in reply,
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man 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 and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Reflection (Sem. Alfredo Dimaano):

     We are very much familiar with the words of the centurion from which we hear in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. After the priest lifts up the consecrated body and blood, the faithful responds with: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. “ Jesus was amazed at the faith of the centurion for Him to make a remark that no one in Israel had He found such strong a faith. A commander that the centurion was, he knew the power that a command could do.

     That centurion is a Roman commander, not an Israelite but he knew deep within who Jesus was as he acknowledged Jesus as “Lord”. Part of having faith is to humble oneself and recognize one’s unworthiness. Humility must bring me to the truth that I am nothing, that God is everything and that what I have and what I aspire for are possible only through the grace of God.

     There are many obstacles to faith: temptations, failures, sickness, doubts, sufferings, etc. When in any of these moments, I myself at times am about to succumb to unbelief. But Jesus’ words even now can heal and transform as they are alive and ever nourishing. He alone can turn doubts into belief; He can make difficult situations into something bearable. To me, having faith is to entrust everything to God who is above all my fears and doubts.

     In my journey as a seminarian trying to follow the will of God, the future sometimes looks hazy and unclear. To pray in humility always brings me to the right perspective. There have been challenges along the way but I seek for Jesus’ words that renew and uplift.

     Today, we are asked to invite Jesus into our lives. We experience Him most especially in the Eucharist where He is present. We receive Jesus in Holy Communion and with confidence, though we know that we are unworthy, we ask  Him to just say the words of eternal life, and we shall be healed from our afflictions, if we only have faith in Him.  There was a saint who once said that, “Faith is believing what we do not see and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.” The centurion believed and he was rewarded to see the unbelievable.

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