This pericope, extract or section from the Bible, from Luke 7:1-10 is called The Healing of the Centurion’s Slave. It represents a wonderful picture of collaboration and harmony. The centurion, a gentile – a non-Jew, heard that Jesus was near and appealed to Jewish elders to seek out Jesus to invite him to his home to heal his slave. As Jesus was on the way, the centurion apparently had a change of heart, concerned about his sinfulness and did not want to trouble Jesus. He sent his friends to Jesus with the request to heal his slave with his word. Jesus was amazed: “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith” (Lk 7:9). The slave was then healed.
Aside from the fact that no one seemed to have a problem with slavery, certainly not uncommon in the Ancient Near East, everyone involved, the centurion, his friends, Jewish elders, and Jesus were all working together to make this healing possible. The centurion actually showed concern, not indifference for his slave, Gentiles and Jews collaborated with one another, and Jesus did not hesitate to answer the request of the centurion, a representative of the Roman occupying army.
This Gospel scene is certainly worth meditating on. The centurion gave voice to his slave. Jesus healed the slave with his Word. We need to use our words to speak up for those who do not have a voice. We need to help people to understand that the unborn are human beings, they are just smaller and more vulnerable than us. But we need to be more than pro birth. We need to provide support systems for the parents to care for their children once they are born, and viable alternatives for those that may be contemplating an abortion. We need to learn strategies and teach families how to protect their children from molestation, abuse, and human trafficking. We need to speak up for the children of migrants and immigrants that are, for now, protected by D.A.C.A – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Pope Francis was recently asked on his flight from Colombia about the president’s recent decision to suspend D.A.C.A. We need to echo his response that, “the family is the cradle of life and that it must be defended as a unit”.
There are so many more on the peripheries, so many more that we need to give voice to. We all fall so short of the wonderful harmony and collaboration of this Gospel scene today. Though we need not lose hope. We need to keep our ears open to hear the cry of their voice. God has a part for us to play, we just need to be open to playing our part. Let us begin in humility as did the Roman centurion: “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
Link for today’s Mass Readings:
Photo credit: Rosarian Academy, 2016 Rosarian Academy Commencement Address