Sunday, September 11, 2011

Enter Under My Roof

September 12, 2011

Monday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity.
This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4

And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
"Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.
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."
Luke 7:6-8


Father, help us to exemplify the faith held preached by Jesus and exemplified by the Roman centurion. Give us the humility of your Son so that our pride never gets in the way of your true Words and Works. Amen.


Jesus has just completed some important sermons in Capernaum. He preached about the beatitudes. Then he talked about a tree being known by its fruit, and finally, having a proper foundation between words and deeds, faith and action. After this sermon on the plains, he entered the city of Capernaum where the encounter between Jesus and the centurion occurred.

Luke juxtaposes this right next to these important lessons because the centurion -- even though he is a Roman -- exemplifies the qualities of the earlier lessons perfectly. What are we to make of this today?

Perhaps we should realize that no person, group or nation is privileged or exalted over others. If you are saved or born again, you have no special relationship with the Lord which is not also granted to sinners and tax collectors. These days, as college and pro football season gets into full swing, how long will it be until we witness the players of one team kneeling in prayer and holding hands while the kicker goes out to attempt the winning field goal. If the cameras swing to the other side of the field, perhaps we will see the opposing team praying that the kicker will miss. Do we think that God is really there pushing the football through the uprights for one team or blowing it away for the other.

There is a famous story about Abraham Lincoln who was confronted by a person who prayed that God was on the Union side during the Civil Way. The sixteenth president is said to have remarked, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.”


Even in Jesus' day and in the early days of the Church, the relationship with the political and military leadership was tense and fragile. Timothy taught us to pray for all in authority that they will lead the people in a manner suitable for a life in pursuit of the truth. Let us pray that our current and future leaders will not use faith as a wedge to drive us apart but rather lead in a manner that allows us to practice our faith in piety, study and action.