At that time, when Jesus had entered Capharnaum, there came to Him a centurion, who entreated Him, saying, Lord, my servant is lying sick in the house, paralyzed, and is grievously afflicted. Jesus said to him, I will come and cure him. But in answer the centurion said, Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, and have soldiers subject to me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it. And when Jesus heard this, He marveled, and said to those who were following Him, Amen I say to you, I have not found such great faith in Israel. And I tell you that many will come from the east and from the west, and will feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be put forth into the darkness outside; there will be the weeping, and the gnashing of teeth. Then Jesus said to the centurion, Go your way; as you have believed, so be it done to you. And the servant was healed in that hour.
Whenever I read this passage, I often wonder what tone the centurion spoke to Our Lord in. Rather than panicked, there’s almost a sense of calm about them, alongside a sense of humility. Scholars now are thinking that this man, rather than a servant, was the centurion’s lover. For context, see here.
In this passage, we are not witnesses to the servant, or the lover. We are told he was healed, that is all. We are told that the centurion’s faith was great. “I believe, Lord, that You can heal him. I believe You can do this by will alone.
The centurion kneels by the side of the bed of the servant, his lover. He is afraid because he knows the illness is serious; the love this man feels is strong enough that he approaches one he’s heard has worked miracles among the Jews.
Recognize that this was faith that allowed the centurion to step from one world into another. To approach Jesus in this way required not only faith, but humility and courage.
Do we have that kind of courage, that kind of humility, that kind of faith?
How often do we enter the Mass, and only accept a piece of bread and perhaps a sip of wine? That requires no courage at all. But not only that, in just taking a piece of bread and a sip of wine, we are not stepping out of our world into the world the centurion stepped into, the Liturgical World, the Liturgical Time.
The Eucharist is a doorway for us to enter into direct connection with the Divine: unlike prayer, the Eucharist is a physical touch, a Hand that heals, a Breath on our forehead.
Approach the Eucharist, therefore, with the same courage as the centurion: have faith, that, although you are not worthy for Him to enter into your house, simply let the Word be said that you may be healed, that you may be touched.