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FAITH AND HUMILITY PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS

Father Francis's picture
First Week of Advent

Is. 2:1-5 & Mt. 8:5-11

The good people of this world long for peace. If ever our world needs to read the words of Isaiah it is today. He tells us that when the Lord comes, “He will wield authority over the nations and adjudicate between many peoples; these will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into sickles. Nation will not lift sword against nation, there will be no more training for war.” This can happen if we beat down our personal feelings of hatred and retaliation into love and concern; if we turn our self-seeking into generosity and service to others.

Why should the story of the centurion and his sick servant be chosen for the first weekday of Advent? If we are to receive Jesus into our hearts this Christmas we have to have the faith and humility of this centurion. He had the faith to recognize that Jesus possessed the power to cure his paralysed servant by words alone, and the humility to recognize he needed Jesus.
Jesus came into our world to cure the human race paralysed by sin. He wanted to free us of sin, a spiritually crippling disease, so that we could live a full life as children of God. BUT Jesus does not force His cure on anyone. Firstly, we must have the faith that Jesus, and Jesus alone, has the power to help us. Secondly, we have to be humble enough to admit that we need Jesus, that of ourselves we can do nothing, and that all human resources are insufficient to make us spiritually sound. Like the centurion, we have to approach Jesus and ask Him to heal us. Just as He healed the centurion’s servant of physical sickness, He can heal us of our spiritual sickness.

Jesus offers us His healing power in the Eucharist. If the effect of the Eucharist upon us is not spontaneous, as was the power of Jesus upon the paralysed servant, it is perhaps because our faith and humility are not deep enough. To help us grow in faith and humility the Church has adapted the words of the centurion and put them on our lips before we receive Holy Communion, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive You under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Lord Jesus, each time we say this prayer, humbly and trustingly, we are preparing to welcome You into our hearts this Christmas and allowing You to heal our spiritual life.

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