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Monday of the First Week of Advent, December 4, 2023



Gospel Mt 8:5-11

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."


Reflection


What stood out to me the most in this reading was this line, simply because of how familiar it was to me… "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed”.


I am sure most would easily recognize this as something similar we say during mass right before communion… “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”.


However, I started to wonder why we say it at all, and why directly before communion?

I know that we as Catholics believe that Jesus is truly present in the holy Eucharist, so I always perceived this phrase as a prayer to prepare ourselves to receive communion. After doing some further research I found while that may be true, it is a bit more than this. In the reading the centurion shows great faith and humility in saying this phrase to Jesus, believing that just his word alone is enough to heal his servant. Just as the centurion shows faith and humility by his response to Jesus, so do we when we say this before communion. We have self worth because of who we are, we were made in the image and likeness of God. We are children of God. However, we have a need for self-examination before partaking in the Holy Eucharistic celebration. In saying these words we are recognizing who we are and most importantly, Who Jesus is and turning to Christ for the nourishment of our souls.


I found an article that I thought words this well: (please read the whole article for full context, link below.)

“It is only the body and blood of Jesus that can heal our souls. Our worthiness to receive the holy Eucharist is found in our disposition to receive what we believe and reflects our dependence upon Christ to help change our hearts to receive what is sacred and holy as nourishment for our souls. To receive the holy Eucharist in an unworthy manner is taken up by St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11:27-29) when he says, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”


To acknowledge our unworthiness to receive the Eucharist is to embrace humility before the Blessed Sacrament and to prepare ourselves to be united more intimately to Christ in his passion and death and as a member of his body. Our mind, our heart, and our soul must be prepared to receive what the church says about the Eucharist in the document “Sacrosanctum Concilium” from the Second Vatican Council, that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian faith.”




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