Oh, how great peace and quietness would he possess who should cut off all vain anxiety and place all his confidence in God. --Thomas A. Kempis: (1380 – 1471: was a Dutch canon regular of the late medieval period and the author of The Imitation of Christ, one of the most popular and best known Christian books on devotion.)
Gospel Text: (LK 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.
Faith. I think we test our faith everyday. We find it hard to have the faith of the centurion in today’s gospel, whose faith is so strong that he is willing to turn everything over to God. The words echo the words we say at every Mass: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.”
At that moment, we ask God to accept us as sinners who are trying and we know that he will, that He loves us as we muddle through life, as we make mistakes. I marvel at the faith of the centurion and those early Christians to believe so strongly, to have such unwavering faith in this son of a carpenter. We should be like the centurion, willing to turn everything over to God. That trust, that leap can be hard. We don’t like to give up our illusion of control. We sometimes would like our faith with a side of exceptions. We stand at the precipice and hesitate to take the leap of faith, our own fears holding us back.
I think faith is a muscle, one that grows stronger as we exercise and stretch it.