September 13, 2010
Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church
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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you came into this world to redeem sinners. I hope in you and in your power to transform my soul, by your grace, from sinfulness to holiness. Lord, I love you and offer you the longings of my heart to put you truly first in my life. I want to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and strength.
Petition: Lord Jesus, grant me the gift of a deeper faith.
1. The Centurion
Frequently the people to whom God has given the most recognize him the least. For that reason, he extends the gift of faith to other men and women, especially the simple and humble of heart. The centurion exemplifies this dynamic of God's grace in our lives. We should strive to be like him: simple, humble, and confident in the powerful action of Jesus in our daily lives.
2. Lord, I Am Not Worthy to Receive You
These words manifest the centurion’s humility. They should also manifest our humility and faith in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, since they are the words we pray at every Mass just before receiving our Lord in Holy Communion. When we receive the Blessed Sacrament, we truly receive Christ — body, blood, soul and divinity. Our faith is the key to opening up our hearts to Christ’s healing grace.
3. Not Even in Israel Have I Found Such Faith
Don’t we want Jesus to say these words to us? Isn’t it much better than hearing those other words of Christ: “When the Son of Man returns will there be any faith on earth?” (see Luke 18:8). Christ calls us to be a fresh well of faith, hope and love so that even if he does not find it anywhere else, he can always be consoled by our undying faith.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to repeat these words of the centurion. I do believe in you and in your Real Presence in the Eucharist. In my times of doubt or weakness of faith, I will call out to you, “Only say the word and I shall be healed.”
Resolution: I will pray with all my heart today at Mass.
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