When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.”
When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.
When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Today’s Genesis reading and the healing encounters from Matthew’s gospel confound what we normally think of as the “order of nature.” God intervenes in the lives of Abraham and Sarah by promising them a son. This news prompts elderly Sarah to let out a hearty laugh. And, in the healing section of Matthew 8, Jesus cures the Centurion’s paralyzed son, releases the fever of Peter’s mother-in-law, and brings healing to many others who were possessed and otherwise afflicted.
Spiritual writers remind us that possession of various sorts and illness of all kinds are part of our daily experience. And, in ways less dramatic than we read in Scripture, Jesus invites us to carry forward his healing actions in our daily personal outreach. We see such dedication in a mother’s selfless care for her paralyzed child, a family’s patient watch over a dying grandparent, parents’ sleepless vigil until their fearless young adult stumbles home from a long night out….and the list goes on.
In God’s plan we work out our salvation, we find our redemption within the ordinary tasks and events of our daily routine…at home and work and around the neighborhood. Embedded in that daily faithfulness are moments of grace, invitations to selflessness, and the lived experience of walking at the Lord’s side, even when we might least expect we are doing so. Go for it!
—the Jesuit prayer team
Jesus, may all that is you flow into me.
May your body and blood be my food and drink.
May your passion and death by my strength and life.
Jesus, with you by my side, enough has been given to me.
May the shelter I seek be the shadow of your cross.
Let me not run from the love which you offer,
but hold me safe from the forces of evil.
On each of my dyings shed your light and your love.
Keep calling to me until that day comes,
when, with your saints, I may praise you forever. Amen.
—Anima Christi prayer, translated by David Fleming, S.J.