*Faith is knowing the Real Commander-in-Chief*
(Homily for September 17, 2018).
_"Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof *(Luke 7:6).*_
Today, we reflect about the Centurion whose slave was cured from a distance. The Centurion will not let Jesus come to him because he considered himself unworthy to be in the presence of the man who is *the commander in chief of the entire universe*; the man for whom distance is not even a barrier; the man who can speak and everything in the world obeys; the man who spoke the world into existence.
While Jesus was on His way to his house, the centurion sent friends to Him to say: "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof… but say the word and let my servant be healed." The Centurion's actions and words revealed an excellent theology. He already figured out who Jesus was just like Peter did when he said: "You are the Christ." The Centurion was firmly convinced of Jesus' Power and Divinity.
The words of this Centurion are the very same words we utter before Holy Communion at every mass. When the priest says: "Behold, the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world, blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb." Our response is: " *Lord, I am not worthy to have you under my roof, but only say your word and my soul shall be healed.*"
When I repeat the words of this Centurion at mass, do I approach Jesus with the same faith and disposition of the Centurion? Does it occur to me that when I receive Holy Communion, I am receiving the one who is the commander-in-chief of the entire universe? Do I even consider myself worthy enough to receive Holy Communion or do I come forward for communion just to impress others?
In our first reading this morning, St. Paul expresses his unhappiness with the Corinthian Church for their failure to grasp the meaning and essence of the Holy Eucharist. The Corinthian Church did not really understand Holy Communion, they took it simply as a meal in which there was even survival of the fittest. Some were getting drunk in the church while others did not even get a single piece.
St. Paul then took his time to teach them what the Holy Eucharist is all about. In fact, St. Paul's teaching on the Eucharist remains a concrete catechesis even for our day and time. When we celebrate the Eucharist, it is not simply a meal we use in entertaining ourselves, it is not ordinary food, it is the REAL BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST. What appears to the eyes as bread and wine is actually the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ. The same Jesus we read about in today's Gospel passage.
Now, there is a point where both our first reading and our Gospel passage today meet. For many people, Jesus was just a man like anyone else. We are told that even His own people could not look at Jesus beyond the level of being a carpenter's son. Some even said He is the prince of Beelzebub. But this Centurion had the eyes to see that Jesus was not just a man but God walking in the midst of men. His Faith not only won him Jesus' commendation, it also ensured his servant's instant cure. For some today, Holy Communion is just ordinary bread and wine, even amongst Catholics, there are some who out of over-familiarity do not believe in the real presence of Jesus in Holy Communion, they despise Jesus just as his countrymen did.
Dear friends, if only we can have the Centurion's Faith and learn to approach Holy Communion as the Centurion approached Jesus, we would be amazed at the number of miracles we would experience. Let the words we recite at every mass remind us of how the Centurion's slave got cured and assure us of our own healing.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my faith in your real presence in Holy Communion. Amen. St. Robert Bellarmine, Pray for us. Amen.
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1st Corinthians 11:17-26,33, Psalm 40:7-17, and Luke 7:1-10)*