Saturday of the 12th Week of the Year

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

We Christians believe that God hears our prayers for other people. As a religious brother, I have met countless people asking for prayers, ople asking for prayers, “Pray for me, brother ha….” or “Brother, pwede prayer partners tayo?”

It is wonderful to see people flocking to the Pink Sisters’ convents. They take pieces of paper, write their intentions and drop them in the intention box. The Sisters then include them in their prayer intentions.

In the gospel today, a centurion begs Jesus to heal his sick servant. Jesus immediately responds to it, “I will come and cure him.” In the same way Jesus listens to our prayers for other people done in faith.

We need each other – to pray for one another. Each night before we sleep, let us try to think of persons whom we want to pray for – our family, friends, classmates, workmates, those we have met that day, those who hurt us, our national and Church leaders and more. Simply imagine them and whisper their names before the Lord asking Him to bless them and keep them safe from harm. It is nice to hear people saying to you, “I prayed for you last night….

Intercessory prayer does wonders! (Bro. Carl Milos R. Bulilan, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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I still remember one of my experiences in a certain parish community. There was this man who was very ill for quite sometimes. He was a non-Catholic. What surprised me was when his family came to ask us to pray over him because they believe that prayers are very powerful for his recovery. It was an expression of faith! When we were praying, I saw in them that calmness and surrender so different from the time we first met them. They used to be overly critical of the practices of the Catholic religion but they believe that Jesus can heal and that our prayers for the sick can help.

In the gospel today, Jesus was also amazed at the deep faith of the centurion who was a Gentile. The centurion was never a follower of Jesus but he still believed that He can heal. Jesus appreciated his faith because even if his knowledge was only through what he had heard and none by personal experience, he already believed. Unlike those who personally witnessed His miracles and works but still, questioned and doubted His power and authority.

Indeed faith in God can make many things possible. All we need to do is to trust and believe that God will do something not in our own time and in our own way but in His time and way.

Do we have faith like that of the centurion, a faith that continues to rely and trust in God’s power even if things do not happen the way we want and the time we expect? (Sr. Weng SSpS Bible Diary 2006)

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William Barclay recounts that “in a Roman legion there were 6,000 men; the legion was divided into 60 centuries, each century containing 100 men, and the officer in command of each century was the centurion.”

Interestingly, centurions are mentioned in the New Testament with great amount of respect. For example, it was a centurion who stood beneath the cross and said of Jesus: “Surely, this man was the Son of God.” Or the centurion of today’s gospel who are asking the Lord for a favor, deemed himself unworthy to have the Lord enter his house. “Just say the word, Lord, and my servant will be healed.” No wonder that today’s reading portrays the centurion as an honorable man. Yes, an officer and a gentleman. In a world where slaves were treated as tools, the centurion treated his slave as a son. In a world where Romans lorded it over Jews, the centurion treated Jesus with honor.

But the crowning virtue of the centurion mentioned in the New Testament is their faith. Is our faith as vibrant as the centurions? (Fr. Fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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In the language of medicine or science, is God’s action (miraculous intervention) completely absent?

Miracle or healing in the gospel occurred because there was a master, a centurion who initiated and loved. God’s action necessitates human action. The centurion’s act of love, his selflessness is worth noting. He is a master yet he became a servant to a sick servant. He was not indifferent to the servant’s condition but saw it as a moral challenge. And there was an appropriate moral response. The servant’s misery was not a burden but an occasion for self-sacrifice. There was an unfolding of humanity’s goodness: he perceived the servant as a person with dignity, possessing a right to life and was treated by the centurion as equal. If this centurion possessed that exceptional love, God who cannot be outdone in generosity did something. Human goodness and selflessness can storm heaven and earth for God to act to act.

The dedication and selflessness of people who are concerned with reducing human misery, like the centurion in today’s gospel, translates God’s plans and actions in history. In this sense, wonders of science, medicine and technology do not contradict faith but are subtle manifestations of God’s power. Albert Einstein himself said that life can only be lived in two ways: “Either you believe everything is a miracle or you do not believe at all.” (Fr. Martin Mandin, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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Let it be Done for You

June 27, 2015 (readings)

Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Father Shawn Aaron, LC

Matthew 8:5-17

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The Centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will 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.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, 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 the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” And Jesus said to the Centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour his servant was healed. Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him. When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet: He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.

Introductory Prayer: Lord I believe in you. I believe that you walk with me and accompany me with your power. I come before your holy throne, the throne of your heart. I know you want to bless me today with your friendship and to answer my prayers. Thank you for your faithful, generous love.

Petition: Lord, increase my faith.

  1. Humility Moves God’s Heart: Not only does the Centurion have great faith; he has great humility. His humility is not feigned, for the circumstances are too grave for him to pretend to be humble, especially as Jesus has already agreed to come heal his servant. Nor is his humility the result of a low self-esteem, for there is tremendous confidence in his dealing with Jesus. His is the humility born of a faith that understands who Jesus is. It is the humility that the Church invites us to share every time we approach Our Lord during Communion at Mass: “Lord, you are far too great to come to me, but thank you for coming for I will die without you.”
  2. When Jesus Heard This, He Was Amazed: Nowthisis amazing. Consider what it would take to amaze Jesus. Yet here we have the answer: Faith — faith in his person, his power, his plan for our lives. One day Jesus will rebuke Peter as Our Lord grasps his hand to save him from sinking: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). The import of the question might be better seen if stated differently: “What is there in me that would make you mistrust me?” The answer is: Nothing. Any deficiency is in us, and this must be sincerely resolved in prayer, especially by contemplating the major truths of the faith: Jesus’ incarnation, passion, death and resurrection; the sacraments, especially baptism, confession and the Eucharist. If Jesus is amazed by our faith, we can rightly deduce that he is hurt by our lack of faith and trust in him.
  3. It Happens According to Our Faith: Christ’s comment is somewhat similar to what we pray in the “Our Father”: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Here we are saying, “Let my forgiveness of others be the standard by which I am forgiven.” By addressing the Centurion with these words, Jesus reveals that our degree of faith is the standard by which we possess what we ask for from God. In the First Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass we pray: “You know how firmly we believe in you and dedicate ourselves to you.” This is both consoling and alarming. It is consoling in that Christ knows the exact degree of our faith — he knows the sincerity of our heart. We do not have to explain ourselves to him. It is alarming in that we also know that our faith is not always as strong as it should be. Therefore, we want to repeat what a man once said to Jesus: “I do believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, you are worthy of all my faith. Like the Centurion and the great saints, help me to focus my gaze on you in faith, confident that what you ask of me is always for my best. Mother Most Pure, make my heart only for Jesus.

Resolution: Today I will take a few minutes to read and reflect upon Hebrews, Chapter 11.

© 1980-Present. The Legion of Christ, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Reproduced with Permission of Copyright Owner.

epriest.com/reflections/view/432

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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