In Luke’s account of Our Lord healing the Centurion’s servant it’s interesting to note that Jesus and the Centurion never met personally. Everything was done through men of good will (the elders of the Jews, who acknowledged the Centurions good will and kindness in helping them build their synagogue), and the Centurion’s friends, who came to meet Jesus even as he was about arrive at the Centurion’s home. This last detail also shows the good will and respect of the Centurion: devout Jews would consider themselves ritually defiled if they entered the home of a Gentile.
Nevertheless, it was Our Lord alone who could help the Centurion’s servant. As the First Reading reminds us today, God wants everyone to be saved and to learn the truth, but he wants to do it through the Son, the one mediator between God and men. In this moment of his ministry Our Lord was focusing on the Jews, but, one day, another Centurion would receive baptism along with his family (see Acts 10:1-48), the first Gentiles to be welcomed into the budding Church after an initial focus on the Jews.
Friendship and good-will may not always help others to connect with Our Lord, but they certainly go a long way toward bringing others closer to Christ. Let’s not shy away from sharing our best friend with others and helping them make a connection of faith.
Readings: 1 Timothy 2:1–8; Psalm 28:2, 7–9; Luke 7:1–10. See also 12th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday and 24th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday, Year II.