Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we heard about the stories of the servants of God, in their faith in God’s power and providence. In the first reading, we heard the story from the Book of Genesis, of the time when God came to visit Abraham and reveal to him and Sarah, his wife, the fulfilment of the promise which He had made with them, about a child that was to be born from Abraham and Sarah.
Then in the Gospel today, we heard about the army captain or centurion, who sought the Lord Jesus to heal his servant who was very sick. And in this story, we heard how the army captain humbled himself so much before the Lord, that he uttered the words which we also repeat every time we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass before we are about to receive Him in the Eucharist, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.”
The same attitude was shown by Abraham, who humbled himself before God, Who approached him, and then Abraham recognising them, begged them to stop over his dwelling place, and not to pass him by. And God stopped by Abraham’s dwelling to tell him of what would happen to him as He fulfilled His promise of a son to Abraham.
In all of these we can see both similarities and differences, one that can help us to appreciate our faith in God better. The contrast between the case of Abraham and that of the army captain could be traced back to the custom of the Jews, who as the chosen people of God were quite wary of the pagans and non-Jewish people, and interactions with the Gentiles or the non-Jews were usually frowned upon.
That was likely the reason why the army captain deferred from having the Lord to come upon his house in order to heal his servant. As a Roman soldier, belonging to the Gentiles and a pagan group of people, certainly the army captain did not want Jesus to be seen negatively by His visit to the house of a foreigner. As such, he humbly begged the Lord instead to heal his servant with the mere orders of His words.
It was in this manner that the army captain had shown the same faith as Abraham had done. Abraham believed in God wholeheartedly, even though he did have some reservations in the beginning. He believed that God would be able to grant what He had promised him, to have a son at such an old age, even though Sarah his wife had been long past childbearing age.
In the same manner, the army captain believed that the Lord Jesus was able to heal his servant with the mere action of His will alone. Most people would have believed only upon seeing and witnessing what had happened, and yet, the army captain did not require even any proof in order for him to believe in the Lord. He believed that God was able to do what is considered impossible for men.
Many of us have perhaps acted as Sarah had done. When Sarah heard the Lord, disguised as the travellers, speaking of how she would conceive a child in her old age, she laughed in her heart, thinking of the words as mere joke, as something that is impossible according to human intellect and understanding. That is also how we often react to the Lord Who calls upon us to believe in Him and walk in His ways.
Let us all ask ourselves, whether we are capable or not in the matter of believing in God wholeheartedly as Abraham, our father in faith, and the army captain, who believed in the Lord Jesus and His providence, had done. Are we able to devote ourselves to the Lord in the same manner, and with the same zeal? That is what we need to do, brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to put our complete trust in the Lord, our God.
May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to guide us in our path. May we draw ever closer to Him, and find in our own hearts, the strength to commit ourselves to His cause and to walk forever in His path. May the Lord be with us all and bless us. Amen.