Jesus miraculously heals the faithful Centurion’s slave from afar. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Virtue of Hope so he can always put his complete trust and hope in God and by building the Virtue of Magnanimity so he can make the pursuit of the Kingdom of Heaven his highest desire and goal in life. 

Liturgy

1st Week of Advent – Monday – Mt 8:5-11

Commentary

Continuing to demonstrate His miraculous power through the performance of ten miracles (Mt 8:1-9:38) after the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus enters Capernaum and encounters a Roman Centurion, a soldier who commanded about one hundred soldiers. The Centurion, who has waited for Jesus to appear, in a startling act of humility, begs Jesus for help, explaining that his servant is paralyzed and in great distress. Undaunted by Jewish laws which limited interaction with Gentiles, Jesus agrees immediately to “come and heal” the servant.  

The Centurion calls Jesus “Lord”, an astounding act for a Gentile Roman soldier of his rank and because Romans looked down upon the conquered Jews. In a further acknowledgment of Jesus’ Divine Presence, the Centurion, full of faith, asks Jesus to perform a healing miracle from a distance because of his unworthiness and because he knows that Jews were not allowed to enter a Gentile’s house (Acts 10:28). Remarkably, the Centurion has complete trust in Jesus’ authority and supernatural power to perform miracles from afar. 

Jesus publicly acknowledges the extraordinary faith of the Centurion; Jesus “marveled” (one of the few times recorded in the Gospel) and announces to the gathered crowd of Jews that the Gentile Centurion’s faith exceeds any expression of faith by Jews. Shockingly, Jesus proclaims that Gentiles will be saved (from the east and west) and many Jews will not be saved; worse, Jesus confirms that many Jews will be cast into Hell (v 12 is omitted from today’s reading). Jesus affirms the Centurion’s belief and He miraculously and instantly heals the servant from afar.

Be awed by Jesus Christ

The Advent (meaning, “coming, approach, arrival of Christ”) season is a period of devout and joyful expectation of Christ’s Second Coming. Be awed at the astounding Charisma, Authority and Power of Jesus: the Centurion, a soldier of violence and power, is awed by Jesus, due to His miraculous deeds and His powerful and manly Charisma, and makes the unheard of public act of humbling himself (“I am not worthy”); the Centurion perceives and absolutely believes in Jesus’ Divine Authority; Jesus, the perfect demonstration of Faith (though, because He is a Person of the Trinity does not have or need Faith) rewards the Centurion’s faith, supernaturally healing the slave from an unknown deadly illness from a distance with His mysterious Divine Power. 

Put your trust and hope in God

Realize: The Centurion’s extraordinary trust in Jesus’ power and mercy causes Jesus to marvel, because this level of trust in God is unusual in men; Jesus Himself demonstrates perfect filial (Latin, “of a son”) trust in God the Father. 

Believe: Reflect upon Trust in God (CCC 177, 322, 397, 1817, 2734, 2738, 2797, 2861).

Pray: Jesus Christ, Savior of Man, help me build the Virtue of Hope so I put my complete trust in You and am always blessed with the peace and happiness of knowing that You love me and are protecting me from all evil. 

Seek to enter the Kingdom of Heaven

Realize: Jesus confirms the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven and describes the blessings of Heaven by comparing it to a great feast, where all those saved by Christ, gather in the Trinity in awe, fraternity, and everlasting joy. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Kingdom of Heaven (CCC 543-546, 1852, 2816-2821).

Pray: Almighty and Gracious Father, help me build the Virtue of Magnanimity (a part of Fortitude) so I always strive to achieve the greatest and most heroic goal of leading my family and many others to spend eternity with You in the Kingdom of Heaven.