Gospel Reading July 2nd

(Matthew 8:5-13)

Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant


In this Gospel reading, a centurion pleads with Jesus in the town of Capernaum: “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented” (v. 6). Jesus responds, “I will come and heal him”, but the centurion answers: “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed!” (v. 8). The centurion teaches us many lessons about the humility required in cultivating our personal relationship with Christ. We know that he was an important man having under his command one hundred soldiers.

However, despite his status, he declares himself unworthy that Jesus should enter his home, knowing that Jesus can heal his servant by simply uttering a word from afar! The Lord we are told, “marveled” at the humility of the centurion’s faith: “assuredly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (v. 10). All the centurion’s good deeds and achievements up until that point had taught him to recognize that he was not worthy for the Lord to come to his home. He understood that he gave commands to human beings and they listened, but the Lord commanded storms, demons, diseases and even death itself! What we must realise is that each of us, like the centurion, has our own personal servant, our heart, which we must care for.

We must take heed that this servant (i.e. our heart) does not become our master and potentially even a cruel master. It can become our cruel master because it contains all our sinful desires, and can lead us into slavery where we are tormented by our passions such as gluttony, envy and anger. Our blessing as Orthodox Christians is that Christ can heal our heart through the mysteries of Confession and Holy Communion. What is required from us is the same humility as the centurion, so that we may pray from the depth of our heart the same prayer: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say a word and my servant (my heart) will be healed”. And our hope then is that Christ replies to us like he did to the centurion: “Go your way; and so as you have believed, so let it be done for you” (v. 13).

Source: Lychnos June – July 2017