Commentary on the Gospel of
I thought I would start off my reflection of today’s Gospel with a little confession. I am a life-long catholic and attended a catholic elementary school, high school, and college. But, it wasn’t until I read today’s Gospel from Matthew that I realized where the statement, “Lord I am not worthy for you to enter under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed” comes from. I have said this at mass my whole life prior to receiving Holy Communion and I guess I just thought it was something that past church leaders developed for this point in the mass. So, today’s gospel gave me a great opportunity to think about what this may actually mean.
As the story goes, a centurion approached Jesus with an appeal. His servant was lying in his home suffering and he asked Jesus if he could help. Jesus replied that he would come and cure his servant – and this is where the story gets good. I imagine myself alongside Jesus and the centurion listening to their conversation. As soon as Jesus says he is coming to his house, the centurion seemed to go into panic mode with the sudden realization that his past events and behaviors were not worthy of hosting Jesus. It makes me wonder if we all feel this way sometimes. We know we are not perfect and behave is ways that would probably make us panic too, if we were suddenly face-to-face with Jesus. But, it seems to me that the point of the story is how the centurion responded…”I am not worthy [but I could be with your help].” The centurion didn’t put on a stoic face and try to hide his transgressions. He didn’t let his ego get the best of him and act as though he was deserving of Jesus’ presence. He threw his ego out the window and humbled himself. In his statement, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed” he realized that life is bigger than just him and his privileged position in society.
So many of the gospel stories are like this one in Matthew. They tell us to be humble ourselves and to check our ego at the door. And, in many cases, Jesus is the one showing us how it’s done. For me, this story says that God is always present in our suffering. But, the healing happens when we allow ourselves to be in a position to receive. If we protect our ego by building a castle wall around ourselves, we are always in protection mode so our ego can stay intact. But, our castle wall also prevents us from receiving. The centurion allowed his castle wall to be broken open by showing his vulnerability. This allowed him to receive and to be “healed”.
I am grateful that I had the opportunity to reflect on today’s Gospel in Matthew. It helps me to realize that God is always present and always healing – I just need to get out of my own way to let it happen.