Monday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 1 Cor 11:17-26, 33 ;Gospel Lk 7:1-10
Though the central focus of today’s Gospel is Jesus himself, one cannot ignore the presence of another heroic example of Christian spirituality – the Roman centurion.
- His approach towards his subjects
Jews considered the Romans as enemies, especially those who were in authority. But here, we see Jews going to Jesus recommending for the centurion. Their comment is interesting ‘he deserves it for he loves our people.’ The fact that he is able to elicit a positive response from the Jews is an expression of how Jews loved him and how we was accepted among them. Be good to others and even those who consider you as enemies will hold you in esteem.
- His approach towards the Servant
The servants among the Greeks and the Romans were not even considered as citizens. They performed some functions and could be replaced once they finish their work. But interestingly we see the approach of the Roman centurion towards his servant being one of great concern and compassion. When the servant was sick he was ready to consider all the possible means to cure him even sending for a miracle-working Jewish rabbi, asking the Jews to recommend for him. This shows the real heart of this man – one that is compassionate and loving.
- His faith and his approach towards Jesus
He was not a Jew and there is nothing that asks him to be respectful towards a Jewish rabbi. But when he heard that Jesus was coming to him, he sent his friends to Jesus to spare Jesus the trouble of coming to him. He found himself unworthy to accept a divine rabbi to his house – mark of true honour and respect. He believed that Jesus could perform a miracle by just his word. How different is it from the apostle who said that unless he puts his fingers into the mark of Jesus, he would not believe!! How different is the faith of this gentile compared to ours who at times asks for signs and miracles as a proof to believe in Jesus.
Roman Centurion, a gentile, presents before us valuable elements of Christian spirituality.