The Good News for the Day, September 13, 2022
Monday of the Twenty-fourth Week of Ordinary Time (492
When Jesus had finished this public address, He went into Capernaum. There a Roman officer had someone about to die in his household–a person who meant much to him.
Since the officer had heard about Jesus, he sent some senior Jewish politicians to Him, asking Jesus to come and save the life of this person. They approached Jesus and asked him urgently to come, “He deserves to have you do this favor for him, because he loves our people—he has built our synagogue.”
Unworthiness – Suitability
Jesus went with them. When Jesus was still a short distance from the house, though, the officer sent some men with this message, “Sir, don’t inconvenience yourself. I am not worthy to have you come in under my roof. That’s why I did not consider myself worthy even to come to you. All you need is say the word. That will cure my child.
“I am in a chain of command, too—with soldiers subordinate to me. When I tell someone, ‘Go,’ he goes. To another I say, ‘Come,’ he comes. I address any one of mine, ‘Do this,’ it gets done.
Jesus Is Impressed with Faith
When Jesus heard this, He was impressed. He turned to the crowd, “I am telling you, in all of Israel I have not found faith like this.” When the delegation went back to the house, they found the person who had been sick now in good health. (Luke 7)
Reflections of the Word of Jesus
Let us with prayer, for a moment, connect the dots between the officer’s acknowledged unworthiness, the praise of Jesus for faith, and the change that these suggest for our conversion, repentance, and growth in love.
Worthiness Here – Its Meaning
The man says, through his intermediaries, “I am not up to it (that you come into my house).” Worthiness, in the context, suggests he admits he is not “suitable” because he is a foreign outsider, one who does not share the religious views – the faith – of Jesus.
His unworthiness is worth considering and reflecting on. The officer does not seem to be alluding to his moral or religious status, but rather to his social and even political difference from Jesus. It is almost impossible to translate this word so often appearing as “worthy.” “I am not up to it”; I am not “big enough” I am not significant–you are the one in charge of me.
However generous he is to the synagogue, he is not Jewish. He is a Roman occupier.
His “faith” is his trust in the order of things, in a conservative view that you follow orders and that is the right thing. He is a Law and Order man familiar with military discipline. Aware that Jesus is a good Jew, the man acknowledges it is not the right thing for a person like Jesus to lower himself under the roof of a pagan household. It is exactly that humble faith that Jesus praises!
The Importance Here
What is that faith, though, and what does it say to us? It is all a play on the “order of the Universe.”
The officer’s faith is in a “higher order” than social, religious or cultural Law and Order. Calling on Jesus for help, he is acknowledging that the military-style obedience yields to a higher obedience. Basically, he tells Jesus a loving God–the Highest Order–want to help people in need.
That acknowledgment is exactly the faith Jesus is looking for in you and me – to see a world beyond this world. You see the Good News means a breaking out of our established way of thinking. The love of God for you is that breakout past “this generation”!
God is love. Being loved, as you are, makes you “worthy” and “suitable,” no matter what.
Prayer leads you to see the two worlds – the higher one and the lower one.