“Having a deep humility that causes us to reach out to others in concern and care, and to have a strong faith that prevents any blocks in the ‘horizon of our faith!’”
(Based on Lam 2:2, 10-14, 18-19 and Mt 8:5-17 – Saturday of the 12th Week of Ordinary Time)
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 -1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer.
He was a literary celebrity during his lifetime.
He ranks among the 26 most translated authors in the world!
He was also a great optimist and had a very strong positive outlook towards life.
But he was also often sick and would not keep well.
Once he was bedridden with tuberculosis.
His wife, sick of his extreme positivity, made fun of him and said: “I expect you still believe that it is a wonderful day!”
Lying on the bed, with a series of medicine bottles on his table, Stevenson looked out of the window, with the sunshine blazing down, and said: “Oh yes, I do!
I will never let a row of medicine bottles block my horizon!”
What about us?
Do the problems of life block the horizon of our faith?
The Gospel of the Day is a wonderful exhibition of a powerful faith, which refused to get limited by the problems of life.
The passage begins with a centurion approaching Jesus with a request:
“Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress” (Mt 8:6)
Here is a beautiful example worth admiring and imitating….
A high placed military officer approaches Jesus for a healing of his servant
A wonderful illustration of humility, a striking example of concern for people in the lower position.
We need to ask ourselves…
… What is my attitude to those who are inferior to me?
… How do I treat and behave with those who work for us, in our houses, institutions etc – our servants, our cooks, our drivers, our watchmen etc…?
All of them deserve…
… an act of concern!
… a word of appreciation
… a push of encouragement
When Jesus expresses His willingness to come to his house, the Centurion manifests yet another admiring act…
… a Faith that dares the challenges all problems
… A Faith that defies the shocks of troubles!
He responds to Jesus saying: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; only say the Word and my servant will be healed” (Mt 8:8)
Who is a centurion?
A centurion was a professional officer of the powerful army of the Roman Empire.
Although, theoretically, this word has its roots in the Latin word ‘centum’ which means one hundred…
… a Centurion in the Roman Army was one who commanded 80 men.
What was the position of the Centurion in the Roman Army?
Above the centurion was a senior centurion… (a total of 80 men for a Centurion)
Above this senior centurion were sixty centurions… (a total of 4800 men)
Above the sixty centurions were six tribunes… (each tribune had 3000 men.. so total 18, 000)
Above the six tribunes were the two consuls.
Above the consuls was the Emperor!
It was such a “man of immense authority” who stood before Jesus…
… and requested for a healing for his servant.
This mighty centurion looked at Jesus the Commanding Emperor of a mighty army!
In Jesus, he saw a man…
… of immense authority!
… of mighty strength!
… of great power!
And so He tells Jesus, “… only say a word, and my servant will be healed” (Mt 8: 8b)
The man had a deep concern for his servant
He had a tenderness that caused him to identify with the sufferings of his slave
But he also had a deep faith that refused to be limited by problems and difficulties
His faith was strong and refused the challenges of life to hamper his belief in Jesus!
The centurion did not allow the problems of life to block the “horizon of his faith”!
What about us?
Do our hardships in life, sometimes cause a mist in the horizon of our faith?
Do the concerns of our family and community, sometimes hinder our horizon of our faith?
Do the problems of our future, our plans and our works, cause blocks in the horizon of our faith?
May we respond positively to the challenge and invitation of the Centurion in today’s Gospel …
… to have a deeper humility that causes us to reach out to others in concern and care
… to have a stronger faith that prevents any blocks in the “horizon of our faith”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “God requires a faithful fulfillment of the merest trifle given us to do…