The Centurion’s Servant
In today’s Gospel a Roman centurion asks Jesus to cure his servant. Christ’s answer is both simple and beautiful: “I will come and cure him.” I am sure this word of Jesus surprised the Jews because they were racists and despised non-Jewish people due to the fact that they were God’s chosen people. These non-Jewish people were named by them as Goyim or Gentiles. Gentiles, in general, are all nations and people except the Jews. They are aliens from the worship, rites and privileges of Israel. In the New Testament it is used as equivalent to Greek and was used as a term of contempt.
During the time of Jesus, these gentiles were compared to dogs, the most despicable, insolent and miserable kind of animals. It is their law that no Jew was allowed to enter the home of a gentile like the centurion. If a Jew did enter a gentile’s house, he became ritually impure (John 18:28). May be this is the reason why the centurion did not allow Jesus to enter his house and not because he was inhospitable and unwelcoming. He was concerned also for Jesus. If Jesus would enter his house, this means, Jesus would be defiled. So he says, “Only say the word and my servant will be healed,” (v. 8). And Jesus accepts his wish but teaches us that we have only one Father; all of us are His brothers and sisters and we are God’s children. He says: “Many will come from the east and the west and will recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”
But one thing that touches me about what this centurion had done was his show of trust in Jesus. You know, one of the things why are we bothered and worried with so many things? The reason is that we lack trust and faith in God’s power, love and providence. We get worried by asking: “Does God hear my prayer? Will God grant my prayer?” Just look at the centurion, he calmly asked Jesus to cure his servant, even if he was a gentile because he has a trusting faith in Him.
Concretely, Quality Life, quoted in Men’s Life (Spring1998) mentioned about nine guidelines of men to provide a basis for building trust in their wife and children:
- Be an encourager. If you don’t have something good to say, maybe you don’t have anything to say.
- Learn to listen to and understand the feelings behind words.
- Demonstrate genuine interest in activities of family members.
- Be a trusted friend to your wife and children, those whom you are responsible for a head of the home.
- Clearly communicate goals and plans that affect the family members and listen to their suggestions.
- When giving direction or correction to your children, make yourself vulnerable to them and share how you overcame the same difficulty.
- Be openly affectionate.
- Be consistent when you discipline.
- Frequently and openly honor your spouse.
At the end, if we just trust in Jesus, our problems would get resolved. It is because Saint Peter said: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you,” (1Peter 5:7).