Today’s Gospel: Matthew 8: 5 – 11
As we enter into the holy season of Advent, the Church offers us this wonderful gospel story about the unshakeable faith and humility of a Roman centurion and the healing power of Jesus. The centurion, even though he is a pagan, clearly recognizes the authority of Jesus, and clearly feels unworthy to be in his presence. He humbly asks Jesus to heal his servant who is at home paralyzed and dying. Jesus is quick to recognize the faith of the soldier and heals the servant. This powerful scripture passage reminds us of how important faith is in our relationship with Jesus. If we do not believe that Jesus can heal us of our sins, then we will not be open to forgiveness. If we fail to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then we will not be open to God’s salvation. Scripture teaches us that when someone has an encounter with Jesus it is a life changing experience.
Each and every time we approach the Eucharistic table, the same Jesus who healed the centurion’s servant, is waiting to heal us of our infirmities, our sins, and our broken hearts. The Church teaches us that if we are in the state of grace, that is, free from mortal sin, and we approach the Eucharistic table with a contrite heart, our encounter with the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist has the ability to heal our venial sins and give us the grace to sin no more. What a beautiful gift awaits us at the Eucharistic table.
Like the centurion, we must believe with all of our hearts that Jesus will forgive our sins and heal us. We must believe that our prayer before communion, spoken in the words of the centurion, will invoke the healing presence of Jesus. This Advent season, let us pray that the gift of faith we received in the waters of baptism, can truly take root in our hearts and lead us to a healing of mind, body and soul at the Christmas season.
Reflect on a time where you sought the forgiveness of God, either through the Sacrament of Reconciliation or through prayer. Do you believe that God has forgiven you, or do you cling to the memories of your past sins? What is preventing you from having faith like that of the Roman centurion?
Heavenly Father, You are the source of all that is good. As I wait in joyful expectation for the coming of Christ this Advent season increase my faith that I may truly believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Holy One of God. May I live each day in your divine grace, serving you through my brothers and sisters in Christ. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Dr. Mary Amore