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On this Sunday we read the Gospel from St. Matthew 8:5-13 concerning Jesus’s encounter with the centurion as he entered Capernaum.  Jesus Christ, was not only the bearer and messenger of God’s mighty Word, but the very Word of God incarnate, having the power to command the waves, cast out demons, raise the dead and heal the sick.

From our Gospel Lesson we hear the words of the centurion who entreats Christ to heal his servant, who is ill, not by coming to his house but by simply His Word, which the centurion believes earnestly the Lord can do.

The Lord responded by saying, “not even in Israel have I found such faith…; be it done for you as you have believed” (Matthew 8:10-13) and the servant was healed at that very moment.  Words have power because they have meaning: God’s Word communicates God’s thoughts, His will or purposes for men and women.  Through Holy Scripture, we know God’s will and plan for us, but the supreme expression of God’s communication to humanity is Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, on whom we anchor our personal relationship with God.

Words have power because they can disclose truth and lastly words have power because they can change lives. It is through words that we affect each other’s feelings, thinking and actions. A genuine loving word inspires and encourages us on our journey through life, but harsh or judgmental words alienate and destroy, for Jesus spoke words of grace, love and forgiveness.  When people came to Him like the centurion, and received His words, they already entered into a healing process for themselves and those around them.

St. John Chrysostom in describing this interaction between Jesus and the centurion stated, ” because he (the centurion), made himself unworthy even to receive Christ in his house, he now became worthy both of a kingdom, attaining those good things which Abraham enjoyed…to make known to all that salvation is by faith, not by works of the law”.

This is the message of the Gospel Lesson this Sunday: God’s Word is Christ Himself, the eternal Word of God, who was with God from the beginning and through whom all things were made (John 1:1-3).  “In Him was life, and the life was the light of humanity” (John 1:4).

The Faith of the Centurion