Commentary on the Gospel of
Memorial if Saints Cornelius, Pope, Cyprian, Biishops, Martyrs
In the first reading we are told that we need to pray for all those in authority. With great power comes great responsibility, and we should pray for our leaders to take that responsibility seriously. We pray that those in authority are good leaders, wield their power responsibly, and keep the well-being of their people in mind. They do have authority. They do have power. They can affect the lives of their people, so we pray they are good and wise leaders and use their power well.
Jesus is accosted by a soldier, a centurion and asked to heal the man’s servant. A centurion. Not a Jew, not a Hebrew: an outsider. But this man knows of Jesus and trusts in his healing power. Jesus replies that he will come right away to heal the sick man. But the centurion says to him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” This man has faith in the Lord and His healing power, and he has faith in the hierarchy of authority. The man says that the Lord need not come. He knows that Jesus can heal with his word. The soldier knows that when he is given an order, he carries it out. He knows that when he gives an order to his servants his will is carried out. He knows that if Jesus says something, it will happen. Because of course, Jesus’ healing word is even stronger than the orders of this soldier. He has faith in the system, and even more faith in the Lord.
Jesus appreciates the man’s faith. He says, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” He should have found such faith in Israel. That is where the people would profess to have the most faith, but the strongest faith found was in a man of violence-- a soldier-- a centurion – an outsider. He understands Jesus’ authority and his power. Pray all leaders use their authority and their power well. It is a man of war who professes the strongest faith in the Lord, and who has the most devotion to His authority.