Today’s First Reading captures the sentiments of the Israelites undergoing the Babylonian Captivity, recalled two days ago. They’re trying to come to grips with why the Lord handed them over to their enemies. What a great contrast with today’s Gospel, when a Roman centurion, part of the people who are occupying Israel centuries after their return from the Babylonian Captivity, is showing more faith in Our Lord and his power to heal than the Lord’s Israelite contemporaries.
Today we live a far different type of “conquest” and expansion. Today, thanks to Our Lord, all of us, whatever our ethnic background, are invited to form a part of the Kingdom of heaven, Christ’s Kingdom, and we pray with every Our Father that it come. That centurion foreshadows all of us with no drop of Jewish blood who met and became disciples of Our Lord and children of God through baptism. The Jews are not excluding from this opportunity, but as Our Lord taught them in today’s Gospel, faith is what will usher them into a lasting Kingdom that is secure from their true enemies: sin and death. Even the healing today of the centurion’s servant is a foreshadowing of the power of Christ the King.
Let’s thank Our Lord today for inviting us to form a part of his Kingdom, and help him to make his kingdom come and reconquer hearts for God.
Readings: Lamentations 2:2, 10–14, 18–19; Psalm 74:1b–7, 20–21; Matthew 8:5–17. See also 12th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.