Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
hearing of the people He entered Capernaum.  Now a centurion had a slave who
was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death.  When he heard of
Jesus, he sent to Him elders of the Jews, asking Him to come and heal his
slave.  And when they came to Jesus, they besought Him earnestly, saying,
“He is worthy to have You do this for him,  for he loves our nation,
and he built us our synagogue.”  And Jesus went with them. When He was
not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him,
“Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have You come under
my roof;  therefore I did not presume to come to You. But say the word, and
let my servant be healed.  For I am a man set under authority, with soldiers
under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he
comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”  When Jesus heard
this He marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed
Him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 
And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave
in the Catechism: In declaring the promulgation
of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
Blessed John Paul II explained that the Catechism
“is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested
to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s
Magisterium.” He went on to “declare it to be a sure norm for
teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial
communion” (Fidei Depositum).
Passages from this Gospel reading are explained in the Catechism paragraphs 1386 and 2610.
“They besought Him earnestly” (verse 4). Here is an example of the
effectiveness of the prayer of petition, which induces Almighty God to work a
miracle. In this connection St. Bernard explains what we should ask God for:
“As I see it, the petitions of the heart consists in three things […].
The first two have to do with the present, that is, with things for the body
and for the soul; the third is the blessedness of eternal life. Do not be
surprised that He says that we should ask God for things for the body: all
things come from Him, physical as well as spiritual things […]. However, we
should pray more often and more fervently for things our souls need, that is,
for God’s grace and for virtues” (Fifth Lenten Sermon, 8f). To obtain His grace–of whatever kind–God Himself
expects us to ask Him assiduously, confidently, humbly and persistently.
belong to the chosen people, he was a pagan; but he makes his request through
friends, with deep humility. Humility is the route to faith, whether to receive
faith for the first time or to revive it. Speaking of his own conversion
experience, St. Augustine says that because he was not humble, he could not
understand how Jesus, who was such a humble person, could be God, nor how God
could teach anyone by lowering Himself to the point of taking on our human
condition. This was precisely why the Word, eternal Truth, became man–to
demolish our pride, to encourage our love, to subdue all things and thereby be
able to raise us up (cf. Confessions,VII, 18, 24).
Such is the faith and humility of the centurion that the Church, in its Eucharistic
liturgy, gives us his very words to express our own sentiments just before
receiving Holy Communion; we too should strive to have this interior
disposition when Jesus enters our roof, our soul.
The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries.
Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries
by members of the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Dublin, Ireland, and by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage
readers to purchase The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers
of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” St Jerome