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(Part 2)


September 16, 2019
Today’s gospel: Luke 7:1-10

At Mass, prior to receiving the Eucharist, we pray, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” These words basically are lifted from the words of the centurion whose slave Jesus healed. There is much we can learn from this episode.

When the centurion spoke as such, Jesus was amazed and said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” (v.9b). Now Israel was the people God had formed as His own. But they were unfaithful many times to their covenant, and would even reject the very Messiah that they were expecting. It is so much like the people of God today.

Christians are the new Israel. Christianity started as a sect within Judaism, among Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah, Savior and Lord. Today one-third of the population of the world is Christian, at least nominally. But 99 of every 100 sheep are lost. Might Jesus say today, “I tell you, not even in Christian nations have I found such faith”?

Take even the Philippines, which has a prophetic role to be God’s light in Asia and even to the world. The Philippine Church will soon celebrate 500 years of Christianity, in 2021. And while about 86% of Filipinos consider themselves Christians, most of them are not living out the fullness of their faith. Less than 20% of Catholics regularly attend Sunday Mass. Might Jesus say in 2021, “I tell you, not even in the Philippines have I found such faith”?

Christianity today is not solidly founded on the Rock that is Christ. How can this change?

First, we must know who God is and who we are. God is all-powerful Creator, we are sinful flesh. But many times we act as gods. We follow our own desires and priorities, most often contradictory to God’s. Even when we pray and intercede, we dictate on God. Today humans have become proud, and have rejected God’s law. That is why many Catholics claim to be devout while being supportive of abominations such as abortion and LGBT.

This was not the case with the centurion. In his desperation regarding his dying slave, he asked Jesus to come. He had sent emissaries to Jesus because he said he himself was not worthy to come to him. But when Jesus did come and was already near his home, he sent friends to tell Jesus, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.” (v.6b). He must suddenly have realized that the great Jesus he had heard about was now about to enter his home. He was awed and humbled.

The centurion knew his worth in relation to Jesus. We too must realize who God is and who we are. He is holy while we are profane. He is perfect while we are so painfully imperfect. He is right in all His ways while we are often wrong in most of ours. We are the slaves of Jesus but we often treat Jesus as our servant. We are instruments of the Holy Spirit but we often just call on the Spirit in order for us to have our way.

We must humble ourselves before God, for indeed we are nothing before Him. We are unprofitable servants. We are often the obstacles to God’s work in the world. We are in dire need of healing. We need to be built on the Rock that is Christ.

Second, we need to truly put our faith in Jesus. This is not just saving faith, which is accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord, but is active and authentic faith, which is living Christ in our day-to-day lives. We must have the faith of the centurion, who said to Jesus, “but say the word and let my servant be healed.” (v.7b).

We must acknowledge Jesus for who he is­the healer and the Savior. We must acknowledge God’s power, to be able to do what He desires to accomplish in our lives. We are to have complete trust in Him and in His word. We must know that God wants to heal, and only God can truly heal.We need to base our lives on the Rock that is Christ.

Thirdly, we need to become holy warriors. We are part of God’s army and are subject to God’s authority. The centurion knew well what authority meant. “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.8).

God has made Himself reliant on His people to proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus to the whole world and to build His Kingdom on earth. Jesus has already commissioned us, when before he ascended to heaven, he told his disciples, “Go.” He gave them his authority, even over evil spirits. He has already told us what we are to do­to make disciples of all nations. He has already offered his life and friendship to us, as he has invited us, “Come to me.”

The Spirit has already taught us how we are to meet Christ, live Christ and share Christ. To reach and help re-convert lapsed Catholics, we must go forth as holy warriors. We help such Catholics rediscover authentic faith. Then their lives can truly be centered and founded on Christ.

Our house is built on Rock only as we let Jesus enter under our roof.

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