December 3, 2012
Dean of Education and Human Services
Psalm 122: 1-2, 3-4B, 4CD, 6-7, 8-9
Reflecting on the message in the Gospel for today I am immediately struck by the words of the Centurion. Remember, centurions were members of the Roman army. Biblical history tells us they were men of power. They wore special helmets and an ornate breastplate that stood out from those worn by others. They carried a staff as a symbol of status. These men had worked their way up the ranks as soldiers and were promoted for their dedication and courage. They were veteran soldiers who commanded 100 men each. They indeed had power and prestige.
Yet, listen to what this man of influence and authority says to the humble, poor carpenter’s son from Nazareth, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He did not ask for a cure. He did not ask Jesus to come to see the servant. He did not ask for anything. He simply told Jesus the problem. It sounds a lot like Mary when, at a wedding feast, she heard there was no more wine. She simply said to Jesus, “They have no wine.” Like the Centurion she did not ask Jesus to do anything or for anything; she simply told him the problem.
In this season of Advent, as we prepare to celebrate a baby born in poverty and of very humble means, we might take a hint from the centurion. Spend some time with Jesus, and simply let him know what is on your mind. And then listen, because Jesus will answer, with his type of power -- just as he answered the Centurion.