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(Part 74)


December 2, 2013
Today’s gospel: Matthew 8:5-11

Jesus said to those following him, “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” (v.11). As God’s instruments of evangelization, we must want to contribute to the number of those who will be at that banquet at the end of time.

What will be required of us?

First, we need to have the empathy of the centurion. “When he entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.’” (v.5-6). The centurion sought Jesus out and humbly appealed to him to heal his servant. He could not bear to see his servant suffering. Do we see the suffering of people who are apart from God? Perhaps they do not even know their deprivation. But many are not living the fullness of life in Christ, being paralyzed by sin, fear, hurts, anger, hatred, tragedy, injustice, suffering, pain. Left lying there, they face a dreadful future. Are we concerned about them, some of whom are those closest to us, perhaps even in our own home? We do not even need to seek out Jesus to beg for his healing. He has already won salvation for them, and has sent us to proclaim that salvation.

Second, we must have the faith of the centurion. Jesus said he will come and cure the servant (v.7), but the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” (v.8). Jesus was astonished and said, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” (v.10). Nothing is impossible with God. Faith works wonders. Do we have such faith, that God has called us, and commissioned us, and empowers us? That God will use us as His instruments of bringing His salvation upon others? That we can even do greater works?

Third, we must have the obedience of the centurion. He said to Jesus, “For I too am a person 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.” (v.9). We are subject to our Master’s authority. We are soldiers of Christ, sent to do battle with the enemy. Do we obey?

  • Jesus tells us to GO into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to all. Do we?
  • Jesus tells us, COME HERE, to come into his presence, and to present ourselves in his service. Do we strive to be nearer to our Lord, to grow in holiness, and to know and do his will?
  • Jesus tells us, DO THIS, expecting us to obey as a slave obeys his Master. Do we obey unhesitatingly, wholeheartedly, zealously? Can Jesus rely on us?

Like the centurion, we are not worthy to have Jesus enter under our roof, but such is not the other way around. God makes us worthy to enter under Jesus’ roof, to take our place in our eternal home in heaven. That is if we have faith in Jesus.

We evangelize in order to help bring people to faith in Jesus, to experience his healing love, and ultimately to participate at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven. Do we believe all this? Let not Jesus say that he has not found such faith among us.

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