by Gretchen Pacheco, Guest Contributor to Catholic Majority
When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”
He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”
The centurion said in reply,
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”- Matthew 8:5-11
To have such faith, to know that it takes only a word from the Savior to bring healing. We see examples of this throughout the Gospels. Remember the woman who merely touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed? What about the official whose son was dying? Jesus simply said, “You may go, your son will live” (John 4:50). In Matthew 15:28 there is a woman seeking healing for her daughter and Jesus replied, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done as you wish,” and her daughter was healed.
What do all of these encounters with Jesus have in common? Someone was seeking healing, for themselves or someone else. They humbled themselves and admitted their need. We live in a world where all too often a request for help is a sign of weakness, and where weakness is not acceptable. This is not the way it is intended to be. In fact, Peter tells us (and the Corinthians) that “in weakness, Christ’s power is perfected.” When we deny our need for healing, we deny the power of Christ.
Advent is a season of expectant waiting. An opportunity to cleanse our hearts and prepare our souls. During this season the church offers extra opportunities for one of the most powerful healing experiences, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When we humble ourselves in the presence of a priest, we are opening ourselves to experience true healing. When we let go of our hurt and anger, we are allowing God’s love to work in our lives. When we admit our mistakes and ask another for forgiveness, we are becoming an instrument of God’s love. Through these acts of faith, we are paving the way for Christ’s love to shine.
Choosing humility, admitting need, acknowledging hurt, seeking forgiveness, these are difficult things to do. Yet this is exactly what our souls cry out for and it is what is required of those seeking Jesus’ healing. During this season of Advent, will you allow shame to hide your true need or will you be like the centurion saying, “Lord I am not worthy for you to enter under my roof, but only say the word and (your) servant shall be healed.”
[Gretchen Pacheco is a wife, mother, and joy seeker. She has over 15 years experience in youth ministry and especially loves speaking about chastity and the power of God’s healing love.]