Today’s Gospel from Matthew tells of the centurion who appeals to Jesus to heal his servant. When Jesus agrees to come to cure the servant, the centurion responds with the words that are the basis for those we recite at Mass before receiving the Eucharist: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Jesus holds up the centurion to his followers, telling them that “in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” To the centurion, Jesus says, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And the Scripture tells us that “at that very hour” the servant was healed.
Every time I read or hear that passage I wonder if I have the faith of the centurion. Would I have been able to walk away from Jesus, secure that Jesus’ merely saying the words would be enough and that the servant would really be healed when I got home? Or would I have been dragging Jesus by the arm to my home so that I could watch and make sure the servant was healed?
Given my tendancy to want to see things for myself, my frequent habit of double checking things I’ve asked others to do for me to make sure they are actually done, I have to wonder. I think sometimes I’m more like the father of the boy needing healing in Mark’s Gospel, who cries out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” And so I pray for the faith of the centurion.