A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 8:5-11
5 When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him,
6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”
7 He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”
8 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.
9 For I too am a man 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.”
10 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.
11 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.”
Reflection: From the east and the west
The Israelites believed themselves to be the people of God. Yet they often turned away from Him and committed great sins particularly the worship of other gods. When He sent His only Son, they refused to believe in Him. It took a pagan foreigner, the centurion, to express great faith in Him. What an irony indeed! So Jesus told them that many people from outside their country (from the east and the west) will dine with their ancestors at the banquet in heaven.
As believers of Jesus for a long time, let us never arrogate unto ourselves the idea that we alone can be saved. The notion that there is no salvation outside the church is no longer accepted as true. In fact, we should never think that we are holier than those outside our circle. It could be the other way around as shown in the story of the centurion. If we are humble and open enough, the very people whom we look down can be our teachers in matters of faith.
Therefore in humility, let us acknowledge our own unworthiness because we are weak and wicked sometimes. Many times we waver in our faith especially when we are confronted with great suffering. Let us therefore ask Jesus to help us that we may have the faith of the centurion.
If we are humble and persevering enough, Jesus will fulfill His promise of journeying with us. The Holy Spirit will come to our aid and grant us the power to become witnesses. Thus we become His co-workers to bring all people, including those from the east and the west, under the lordship of the Savior of mankind – Jesus Christ.
See a more detailed reflection on the faith of the centurion here.