Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Father John Doyle, LC
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 also am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave 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 east and west and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus I place myself before you with great confidence, sure of your desire to spend this time with me and accompany me throughout the day. I am grateful for your unconditional and unfailing love. I humbly offer you my desire to love you more and serve you more faithfully.
Petition: Lord help me to have a profound and yet childlike faith in you.
- I Will Come and Cure Him: Jesus has a heart that is prompt in serving those in need. Doubtless Christ had other plans when he arrived to Capernaum, plans that didn’t include making another trip to cure the slave of a foreigner. Often, we can find ourselves in similar situations in our daily life. We are just about to relax after a grueling day when the phone rings or a little voice asks for help with his or her homework. It is in those moments that Jesus is inviting us to imitate his example of service. Turn the tables around for just a moment. How many times have I been the one on the other side asking for a little of someone else’s time? Ask Jesus for the grace to be flexible and always available to the needs of others.
- I Am Not Worthy: The centurion has a profound awareness of his own unworthiness and this is key to his finding favor with Jesus. At times we pray as if we deserved God’s favor, but here the centurion recognizes that he is unworthy that Jesus should come to him. So great was this man’s faith and humility that we use his words to express our own sentiments before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” As we continue to prepare for Christ’s coming during the Advent season, let’s make these words of the centurion our own.
- Faith Moves Rain Clouds: If it can be said that Jesus had a weakness for something, it would seem that Christ’s “weakness” showed itself when he perceived faith in others. He never worked a miracle without first demanding faith from the one to receive it, and he never refused anyone who asked anything from him with faith. Jesus says that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains. Although I personally have never seen anyone move mountains, I surely have seen prayer move smaller things, like rain clouds for instance. If you need mountains, rain clouds or anything else to be moved, ask for it with faith, and you will really touch Jesus’ weak spot. Direct your prayer of petition to Our Lord with confident faith and love for his will. He really listens and he can move whatever needs to be moved.
Conversation with Christ: Christ Jesus let me ask you for the faith that you demand from me. I’m going to remember now to turn to you with my concerns, no matter how small, knowing you’re accompanying me, and wish to help and guide me. In return, help me to recognize you in those who seek my aid and give me the generosity to answer promptly and graciously in imitation of you.
Resolution: Just before lunch, I will make a simple act of faith in Christ, that he is guiding and protecting me.