Today’s Gospel: Matthew 8:5-17
Optional Memorial of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Optional Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary
We begin our readings today with the story of Abraham and Sarah’s three Visitors, who promise that in a year’s time a son will be born to the old couple. Sarah laughs at the very idea: she’s far past the age for having children, and here she has someone tell her husband that she will have a baby! When the Lord calls her on it, though, she’s embarrassed at being caught with a lack of faith. Our Responsorial Psalm reminds us of the usual beginning to another Baby’s birth: we hear Mary’s Magnificat. In her great declaration of faith, our Blessed Mother speaks of the joy she finds in her faith in God; He will keep His promises, and this fills her soul with immense happiness.
The Gospel takes us to another story of faith: that of the centurion. Here, Jesus is approached by a Gentile — and not just any Gentile, but a Roman soldier! The centurion asks Our Lord if He would heal his servant, who is gravely ill. When Jesus starts to go towards this soldier’s home, he stops him, saying the very words we proclaim at every Mass:
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”
Jesus proclaims to the crowds around Him —who were perhaps even a bit scandalized that He was even going to help this Roman pagan! — that He has not found this kind of faith among the very people God chose to be His own special possession. He turns back to the centurion and tells him that the servant is healed as he believed he’d be.
All of these stories are about faith in God. We hear them all the time, we know them by heart, but do we actually take them to heart? Jesus promised that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we could move mountains. We find several stories in the Gospels that demonstrate that when someone approached Him with great faith, they were afforded healing, both physical and spiritual. When we pray to God, do we approach with this kind of faith? Amazing things can happen when we do. Healing comes, and whether it’s a physical healing or a spiritual one, when it does, we will be like Peter’s mother-in-law: grateful, and ready to serve the One who has helped us.
When I approach God in prayer, am I doing so with faith and trust in Him? Do I trust that He will answer us, even if it’s in His own time? Can I pray with the same surety as the centurion, knowing that if it’s God’s will, it shall be done?
Lord, I know that I need to trust You more completely. Teach me how to do this, to put my faith in You and not in my own doings. Help me to remember that I can always trust You, even when I feel like no one else can be trusted.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Christine Johnson