Monday of the 24th Week of the Year

Luke 7:1-10

The Healing of a Centurion’s Slave

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

There is often a feeling of unworthiness whenever a person becomes a beneficiary of a great favor. Don’t we all say sometimes: “I don’t deserve this.” I never expected to get this grace. I feel so unworthy.” We feel honored and yet humbled, we feel great and small all the same time. This is the mystery of the redeeming and healing power of grace.

The centurion in today’s gospel struggled with this feelings. He felt honored that Jesus responded to his invitation to come to his house and heal his servant. But he felt unworthy that Jesus should actually visit his house. Through his messengers the centurion confessed the unworthiness to Jesus. His humility and honesty impressed Jesus who praised him and healed his servant without seeing him. (Sr. Milanie, SSpS Bible Diary 2002)

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Our faith tells us that God is good, alive and actively working in our lives. This is easier said than done. In the context of formation, for instance, during the evaluation time wherein a tough decision has to be made, a formator can feel insecure about whether a decision will be acceptable to a formand despite the fact that all the necessary interventions and preparations have been made. For his part a formand can also doubtb whether the decision has enough basis or not, whether it is objective, factual and reasonable. But then we are forgetting that a vocation is in the first place a gift from God. So in times of tough decisions we need to have that solid faith on the goodness of life and the goodness of God. ‘Come what may’ must be the attitudinal disposition of both parties.

The centurion believes in Jesus despite his being a gentile. He believes that everything is possible and his favorite servant will get well. Lo and behold, his servant is restored to perfect health. In another instance, Jesus said” “Believe me if you trust and do not falter and you say to this mountain be lifted up and thrown into the sea even that will happen. You will receive what you pray for provided you have faith.” (Bro. Eugene Orog, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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Many times I have received requests by phone from people asking me to pray over them. Many times I’d volunteer to go and visit them, and they’d say it’s not necessary. “We know you are very busy, Father. Just pray over the phone.” What faith indeed!

Prayer is powerful and it is faith that makes us believe that nothing is impossible with God.

Is there anything that you want so much right now? Ask, ask like a child and believe like a child!

The Blessed Mother was one who believed that God’s promises will make all things beautiful in His time. Against all odds, the Blessed Mother kept her faith.

Believe

Dream

Hope

Be strong (Fr. Jerry orbos, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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Where can you ever find a master of the house who would take the trouble to beg somebody a favor in behalf of his slave? It would be more logical for a slave to beg and die for his master. Besides, a slave is nobody. He has no rights.

The master in today’s gospel happened to be a Roman centurion who was indeed, a different man. He possessed nobler qualities that his fellow commanders. He had high respect for every person, a slave or not, Jew or non-Jew. Furthermore, he was deeply religious man.

It was no surprise then when his slave was dying, the centurion without hesitation and in all humanity approached Jesus for help. The officer admitted that he was unworthy to have Jesus enter his home. He had a strong faith in Jesus, he believed that Jesus’ mere words were enough to heal his slave. “Say the word and let my servant be healed.” Thus, his slave was healed from a distance by the mere words of Jesus, not by his actual presence in the house.

What does mean for us? Let us remember that the slave was healed because of the genuine and steadfast faith of his master in Jesus. Does your profession hinder you from humbling yourself before the Lord? Do you seek God in faith to heal and to look over your loved ones? Faith is a gift from God that is meant not only to save us but to help the lives of others too. Do you have somebody in mind to pray at this moment? Be like the good centurion, lower yourself and intercede God in his/her behalf. (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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Why do we have to be good? Do we owe so much that doing becomes an obligation?

Christ was urged strongly to comply to the request of the centurion. Why? It is because the centurion was reputedly good; he did so much for the nation and was so considerate of the people welfare. He “built the synagogue for us,” the people said. Why did the centurion go out of his was for his slave to get healed? Is it because the slave rendered invaluable service to him? There was no chance for Christ to protest even ask why. He had to do it. It was the logic of life, pay good with goodness: reciprocity.

The centurion was an honorable man, a good enough reason for the people to persuade Jesus to help the former. Nut even with his position and power, the centurion claimed to be unworthy contrary to the impression the crowds had of him. Jesus went beyond human evaluations. He saw something even greater – the faith of the centurion, a faith that already believed even before the centurion groped for solutions to his needs.

In day-to-day life God has given us so much. We are the repositories of God’s goodness. We are blessed. Can we not be good for God because he has done so much for us? (Fr. Jerome Adriatico, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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Sometimes last year, I was invited by a group of BCBP (Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals) to celebrate Mass on the anniversary of the group. BCBP is one of the lay groups acknowledged as a Church organization. They have more members in the city parishes. I really prepared my homily because I wanted to encourage them to be more dedicated and to offer their time, talent and treasure for the Church. I thought they are like other business people who are always busy with their daily schedules, focused on arranging meetings with their business partners, and have no time for Church activities. But I was wrong! I was convinced by their sharing! I witnessed the love and fraternal relationship among the members. They have more time sharing the Word of God. Every Saturday morning they have “Breakfast Prayer Meeting; every Tuesday evening, they have Charismatic Mass followed by Bible Study. They have group Bible sharing. They are very much involved in the parish activities. They have convinced me! They have shown me how rich they are, not only in material, but most especially in spiritual things. They have taught me how to thank God for every blessing hat I receive, how to be closer to God and how to look for and have faith in Him.

The centurion in today’s gospel teaches us two things:

First is LOVE for others especially the least and those under our care. Luke did not mention his name; he was just called centurion, in Latin it means one hundred because he was in charge of one hundred soldiers. He was a commander. He was also a master because he had slaves. At that time, a master had the power of life and death over his slaves. And slaves were considered tools and objects of their masters. But in today’s gospel, the centurion showed his love and affection for his slave. He cared for his slave, thus he wanted his slave to live. For him, a slave was not an object but a person to be accepted, a friend to be cared for, and a family member to be loved. Quality life doesn’t mean having wealth, power or superb intelligence. It’s a matter of how much love you give to others and the true joy you get out of it. Maybe we have people under us. Do we really love and care for them?

Second is our FAITH in Jesus. The centurion was a man of authority, of power, of position and high social status. He had everything in life. He put aside his power and authority to appeal to Jesus through other people. He forgot who he was and acknowledged the help of Jesus who was more powerful than anybody else in this world. He recognized the power of Jesus to heal and to restore life. He manifested his complete confidence and strong faith in Jesus. It was only Jesus, not his material things nor his position, who could give life to his slave.

Whom shall we call when pressing problems come, when crises arise and when the cross becomes unbearable? (Fr. Levi Meme, SVD Bible Diary 2012)

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It is faith in Christ that heals. In my various conversations with faith healers, there is one consistent insight that they shared to me. They tell me that it is not them who heals but the faith of those who come for healing. One of these faith healers was my classmate. He also shared to me that he does not know who among those who asked for healing were healed. He only came to know who they were, and also their life stories, when they presented themselves to him, and thanked him for the healing.

The gospel speaks about the truth in healing that comes through faith. The centurion was not a disciple of Jesus. Most probably, he only believed in the gods of the Romans because it was demanded of him as a Roman soldier. But he possessed a kind heart – he loved the nation, he built synagogues for the people. More significantly, he had real faith in Jesus. Because he was a Roman, he would not allow Jesus to enter his house mainly because this may have negative consequences for him and his household. These were inconvenient situations for the centurion. Yet, it was in these obstacles that he professed his faith in Jesus. and Jesus was amazed and said: “…not even in Israel have I found such faith.”

True faith in Jesus heals and saves! It is a faith that emerges and is expressed in uncomfortable situations – in trials, hardships, difficulties, illnesses. The Lord will use many instruments to communicate his healing power such as faith healers or even medical doctors. Whoever these persons may be, our trust and hope is in the Lord who alone can truly heal (Fr. Fred Saniel SVD Bible Diary 2013).

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September 12, 2016 Monday

Paul’s proclamation of our faith and experience in the Eucharist represents a paramount value for the Christian. In Opening to God,Father Thomas Greene speaks of prayer, without which we can neither do missionary work nor relate to people of other cultures. He also cites John Main, once a British colonial administrator in Malaysia, who came home changed. He became a Benedictine monk, drawing his spirituality largely from the fruits of dialogue with people he met in Malaysia, and founded a monastery dedicated to the practice and teaching of meditation in the Christian tradition.

Just as Paul presents the Eucharist as a symbol of unity which should bring together all believers, the centurion in the gospel passage, obviously changed by his life in Israel, shows value and respect for other traditions which transcend colonial limitations and Jewish attitudes. The synagogue had been accepted by the people in spite of their deeply rooted aversion to the gentiles. This shows an unprecedented demonstration of respect for the sensibilities of Judaism. The centurion was aware that Jesus would become unclean in Jewish eyes if he entered a pagan’s house; consequently, his request, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.

Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed.” Showing an appreciation and sensitivity for what was good in the other’s culture, the Centurion was worthy of being considered the most respectful of missionaries.

Those two valuable insights – mutual respect and the appreciation of common values – stand at the heart of mission for all Christians. They also are an indication of the relevance and necessity of the Church in the world. (Fr. Alan Meechan, SVD | Naujan, Or. Mindoro Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/885-september-12-2016-monday

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GOD’S FAVORITES: As far as the Jews were concerned, there were only two classes people on earth: the Jews who were chosen people and the Gentiles who were the unfavored people. In their belief, when the Messiah comes, he would exclusively save the Jews alone.

The Lord comes and the very first one He heals is a Roman soldier. He came to heal the Gentile first before the Jew. This is the Lord’s way of telling the Gentile: I came here for you.” And it is also the Lord’s way of telling the Jew: “No matter how unfaithful and stubborn you are, I also came here for you.”

As Christians, we cannot afford to play favorites. We cannot be biased and prejudiced. And yet, to say that you are a Christian is contradiction in itself. Maybe no one among us is a Jew. But certainly, we have been chosen by God on account of Baptism.

Let us ask ourselves at Mass today: who are the people I avoid? Is it because they are bad? Or is it because they are different from me? Lt us remember that the Bread and the Wine are offered for all, without exceptions. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus In My Heart, p. 197)

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THE GOODNESS OF GOD (Luke 7:2): There are two false beliefs. The first is that prosperity is a blessing from God. Many of us also believe that those who are poor are not blessed by God. That is why when we are beset with difficulties and problems, when there are crises in our families, we say, “I do not deserve this, Lord. I have been trying to be good.”

This prayer presupposes that material prosperity is a blessing from God. Materially prosperous people can actually look at their wealth as a temptation to forget God, a temptation be self-sufficient and a temptation to become greedier for more wealth. Prosperity is not necessarily a sign that we are blessed by God.

The second false notion many of us have is that the more we do good, the better will our chances be of entering heaven. People go to Mass, fulfill Commandments, serve the poor, in the hope that being good will help them, enter heaven.

That is not accurate. We are able to enter heaven not because we are good.

We are able to enter heaven because God has been so good to us in spite of us. We are able to enter God’s kingdom not because we are holy but because God is very patient with us despite our shortcomings.

Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, these two beliefs are also presented to us.

We present to the Lord our own poverty, trusting that the poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom of God. Our offering to the Lord is actually the cheapest we say, “the bread we can offer though truly pure. Our offering to the Lord is not expensive wine, not brandy or champagne but simple grape wine, the offering of the poor.

Also, before we receive the Eucharist we say, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed.” This means, we do not make ourselves worthy, it is God.

Before we proceed to the Eucharist, let us spend a few moments in silence thanking the Lord for two things. Let us thank the Lord for our problems. Let us thank the Lord for our sicknesses and our burdens. But let thank the Lord because he has been good to us. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus Loves You, pp. 161-162)

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REACH OUT (Luke 7:1-10): Pain can paralyze us. It can make us decide to isolate ourselves. People who are hurting or aching inside, usually refuse to talk to other people or get in touch with them. They just want, so to speak, to lick their own wounds. That is reality.

When we are hurting, we don’t like to hear the noise in the house or the telephones ringing. We do not like to see our friends. We do not even want to be touched by anyone, because it hurts us.

But the gospel miracle shows us the opposite. It says that, people who are hurting or are in pain should reach out. And once they reach out, God will take care of the rest.

The father of the daughter who died had every reason to sulk, isolate himself and say to God, “This is too much, Lord. My child was too young to die.”

If you have never experienced how it is to have a daughter at twelve years old, perhaps you would not understand. I think the father had every right to sit down, cry alone, and refuse to reach out or talk to anybody, because his pain was just too much.

But he did not do this. He reached out to God first.

It was the same with the hemorrhaging woman who bled for twelve years. She had every reason to be discouraged. The doctors had given up on her, said St. Luke, who himself was a doctor.

And yet, she reached out. She did not allow her illness to paralyze her. She did not allow it to become a reason to isolate herself. She reached out to God and God reached to her in return.

We all have our pains. Some are greater than others. we all have our aches. Some are more serious than others. But we all carry a secret pain, as secret ache, within us. We can choose to be alone. We can choose to lick our wounds. We can choose to say, “I refuse to talk, see or deal with anybody.” But we will just prolong our agony.

The father whose daughter died reached out and God reached out to him. The hemorrhaging woman reached out and God reached out to her. When you reached to God, He will also reached out to you. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus Loves You, pp. 226-227)

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GOD’S FAVORITES (Lk 7:1-10): As far as the Jews were concerned, there were only two classes of people on earth: the Jews who were chosen people and the Gentiles who were the unfavored people. In their belief, when the Messiah comes, he would exclusively save the Jews alone.

The Lord comes and the very first one He heals is a Roman soldier. He came to heal the Gentile first before the Jew. This is the Lord’s way of telling the Gentile: “I came here for you.” And, it is also the Lord’s way of telling the Jew: “No matter how unfaithful and stubborn you are, I also came here for you.”

As Christians, we cannot afford to play favorites. We cannot be biased and prejudiced. And yet, to say that you are a Christian is a contradiction in itself. Maybe no one among us is a Jew. But certainly, we have been chosen by God on account of baptism.

Let us ask ourselves at Mass today: Who are the people I avoid? Is it because they are bad? Or is it because they are different from me? Let us remember that the Bread and Wine are offered for all, without exceptions. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus in my Heart, p. 197)

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The account on Jesus healing the slave of the centurion is also found in the gospel tradition of Matthew and John. The account as we now read  it in the gospel of Luke is unique in a sense that in this version of the story, the centurion asked the mediation of some Jewish elders so that he might obtain the favor from Jesus.

Reflecting on the uniqueness of Luke’s version, first we realize that Jesus accepts mediation or “intercession” done before him on behalf of another. Such a practice highlights the humility and the trust that the one in need has. It is humility to ask someone to mediate, and help in moments of need. It is a practice of trust to be able to rely on another.

Beyond the virtues of trust and humility, the gospel account very explicitly points out that the centurion had great confidence in asking the Jewish elders to intercede for the need of his household because “he loves the people.” In the culture of the East, the centurion was banking on a “debt of gratitude” of the people whom he served with great love and care. Point for reflection: Can we also be confident in approaching people for help because we have loved them sincerely and honestly, and that they are convinced about this goodness we have done to them?

“To love people” has always been the slogan of many administrators and politicians. But what does this mean? Again, the gospel story gives us some answers:

  • To love people is to respect their faith and belief. Though a pagan, the centurion even built a synagogue for the people of Capernaum.
  • To love people is to provide for their real need.  The centurion realized how important a synagogue was for the people, and he built it for them.
  • To love people is to respect their sensibilities. The centurion, though a man of authority, gave the proper recognition to the role of native elders in the community.

To love people is not to impose on them, but to respect them (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday pp.277-278)

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V. 4 – No one is worthy of God’s love. Yet He gives us grace in spite our undeserving nature. Good actions and faith only dispose us to receive His mercy. Dispose to God’s love exposed (Fr. Ching OP).

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

MONDAY OF THE 24TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – LUKAS 7:1-10. UNSA MAY ATONG PAGBATI SA MGA TAWO NGA DILI SAMA KANATO’G PAGTOO O ESTADO SA KINABUHI? Si Hesus nakadayeg sa usa ka Romanhong opisyal tungod sa iyang nindot nga batasan. Usa siya ka hentil ug walay pagtoo sama sa mga Hudiyo, apan aduna siyay dakong pagtahod sa nasod sa Israel ug nagtabang siya sa pagtukod og mga balay-ampoanan para sa mga magtotoo. Dugang pa niini, ang maong opisyal nagpakita og talagsaong pagtagad sa iyang sulugoon nga himalatyon. Siya mismo ang nangaliyupo kang Hesus alang sa kaayohan sa maong katabang. Kining ebanghelyo magdasig kanato sa pagpakita’g kaayo sa mga tawo nga lahi kanato’g tinoohan ug kahimtang. Adunay nag-ingon: “Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you, not because they are nice, but because you are.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/09/monday-of-24th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Reflection for Monday September 12, Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 7:1-10

Reflection: Do you always prioritize the poor over the rich?

The concern of the centurion/military officer to his slave is very admirable; just imagine he went to Jesus for healing for his very sick slave. The centurion/military officer’s love for his slave was very pleasing for Jesus that’s why Jesus granted his desire for healing for his slave.

By the way, who’s the slave in our modern times? The slaves of our time are the poor people that we know, whose status in life is way way below us. Oftentimes our concern for the poor is very different from those who are rich.

To be brutally honest, we actually have two sets of standards of concern for our friends who are poor and rich. Many of us have biases towards our rich friends for this is what is normal for us: go for the rich friends first before we go for the poor friends.

Let us always remember that Jesus always wants us to help and pray for those who are in need specially the poor for they are closest to His heart. This doesn’t mean that we neglect the rich but if there would be a choice to whom would we extend help first.

It’s no brainer that we go to  the poor first, we have to prioritize them over the rich. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/09/reflection-for-monday-september-12.html

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RESPECT KNOWS NO TITLE – A centurion during the time of Jesus was a person of authority. He has soldiers under his command although he has commanders above him in the Roman military hierarchy.

In the Gospel today, a centurion who has been a good benefactor to the Jewish locals sent some friends to Jesus to ask Him to heal his servant who was near death. We know the rest of the story. Along the way, the centurion sent friends to tell Jesus He need not even go to his house for only a word from Jesus can already heal his servant. Jesus was amazed upon hearing this and when the messengers got back, they found the centurion’s servant fully restored to health.

We can understand the Roman centurion’s deference to the authority of Jesus. He was a religious teacher. He was gaining popularity for His wisdom and miraculous powers. People gather around Him everywhere He went and they hold on to His every teaching. The centurion’s statement, “I am also a man of authority myself,” clearly indicated the esteem he had for the authority of Jesus.

But for a servant? Here we have a Roman high-ranking official caring for his servant. Slaves were still common during the time of Jesus. They can easily be bought for a price. When they under-perform, they can easily be dismissed or replaced and be sold back to the market. The centurion could have just replaced the servant with another one and let him die. But no. The Gospel described the centurion as one who valued his servant highly.

The Roman centurion was clearly a man of sincere humility and respect for others. He puts no artificial value to ranks or positions. He values persons as persons. He held his servant in high regard. He also held Jesus in high regard. His humility has no duplicity. In front of a “Somebody” and a “nobody,” he shows the respect fitting for a person.

How is your humility? Is it without partiality? Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Observe yourself in front of “nobodys” and “somebodys.” Are you the same person?

Today and every day, help me to honor You, O God, in every person that I meet. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-09-12

 

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September 12, 2016

REFLECTION:      Today’s gospel reading presents us with a truly good man. Four details in the text show this.

First, although he is a Roman military officer and, therefore, a person of high social standing, he loves one of his old menservants very much. You would not expect this kind of affection reaching out across social lines. Our officer is no snob and has an affectionate heart.

Second, this kind heart of his inspired him at one time to have a local synagogue built at his own expense. Yet, this is not the gesture of a pious Jew. Our man is a pagan. But he has come to respect the stark monotheism of the Jews.

Third, he respects Jesus’ so much that he does not dare address him in person. Instead he asks the Jewish leaders to plead his cause and then he sends friends of his to represent him before Jesus.

Fourth, he has an implicit faith that Jesus’ word is enough to heal his servant at a distance. Just as his own orders are obeyed because he stands in a great chain of command reaching to the Emperor. Likewise, he reasons, Jesus is backed by God’s infinite power and can perform any miracle.

Many pagans of our time are like our hero.

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3643-september-12-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to:  Monday of the 24th Week of the Year

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