Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 8:5-17

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, but the children of the Kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth." And Jesus said to the centurion, "You may go , as you have believed, let it be done for you." And at that very hour his servant was healed.

Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother -in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him.

When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet: He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.

The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTION: 'In no one in Israel have I found such faith.'

The Jews hated the Romans because they invaded their country, promoted pagan beliefs and idol worship and suppressed the Israelites They did not allow them to be solely governed by God's law. The centurion was a very important Roman. He was in charge of hundreds of soldiers and was the backbone of the Roman army. This particular centurion courageously approached Jesus with confidence and humility . He was pleading with Jesus for a broken, paralyzed, suffering slave. The centurion was so important that another slave --another piece of property--could have replaced his slave. However, the centurion spoke with love about his slave and was risking ridicule and sneers when he approached Jesus.

"Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed." And, yes, Jesus, did heal the servant because of the remarkable faith of the centurion. It was not because he loved him so, it was not because the centurion humbled himself before Jesus, but because he believed that Jesus could and would heal his slave. It was his love and his faith that moved Jesus to commend him. He was a gentile and a leader in Rome's occupation of Israel. --the centurion did not belong in that group, that crowd.

Many times we confuse accepting God's will with not praying for God to intervene in our difficult times. Of course, His will is always what we strive for, but He wants us to ask, seek and knock. Ask and He will hear our prayer, ask and He will help heal a bad relationship, ask and He may give us an unexpected peace. We can ask God for His intervention spiritually, emotionally or physically.

How often do we pray for others--- others who are not even our loved ones? What love and faith do we then have if we can put aside our needs and remember others to God for His healing and generosity. Is this not what Jesus did for us? Every person is precious in God's eyes and the more our heart turns to God, the more Christ-like we will become.

Prayer: Dearest Lord, you know our thoughts and dreams. You also know what we most need and you know our hearts--just because we say we love you , does not mean we do. Give us the freshness of ideas and thoughts and love and give us the compassion most needed for others. May we be aware that by putting others ahead of us, we are becoming more like the child of God . In Jesus' name we pray. Amen

God Bless

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