1st Week of Advent, Monday

Today’s Gospel reminds us that Our Lord was not the Messiah everyone expected. The Messiah was supposed to overthrow pagans and oppressors, and the Romans in his time were occupying Palestine. Yet Our Lord finds something in this centurion that he hadn’t even found in the people who’d been prepared for his coming: a great faith. It’s not easy to surprise Our Lord, and in the case of the centurion he is pleasantly surprised.

Our Lord also reminds us today that he came to save everyone, not just the Jews. Anyone who believes in him will receive healing and grace, pagan or otherwise. Advent should be a time of joyful expectation for everyone, because we’re celebrating the coming of Our Lord to give everyone an opportunity for salvation.

Even baptized Christians sometimes live like pagans. Advent is a time to start fresh. The centurion mustered his faith for the good of his servant, not just for himself. Let’s show concern for others this Advent. It’s the first step toward turning away from ourselves and, in faith, turning toward Our Lord.

Readings: Isaiah 4:2–6; Psalm 122:1–9; Matthew 8:5–11. See also 12th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.