Friday Week 20 Year I (St Bartholomew) Wednesday Week 23 Year I

Monday Week 24 Year I

Print Version September 3rd, 2001

What gets me here is the way people don’t meet. The centurion doesn’t go to Jesus himself, never speaks for himself—maybe he wants to go through the proper channels, maybe he wants whatever leverage he can get from the Jewish elders—and it must have been enough because Jesus does come to cure his beloved servant but then when Jesus is almost there the soldier sends out his friends this time to keep Jesus right where he is even as he is expressing by proxy confidence in his power to act at a distance. Jesus never gets to meet the centurion he praises so much—as having faith beyond any in Israel. But the boy, the soldier’s dear one, ends up in perfect health anyway. And Jesus learns something about faith—Luke uses that phrase ‘turning around’ exactly seven times and each one is a physical turning which implies a spiritual turning too …
But whatever faith the man expresses, and whatever cure the boy receives, and whatever Jesus learns about his calling, I’m left with a little sadness, a wistfulness. I wish they had met, face-to-face… Jesus and that faithful Roman. I wish they had done more than speak through go-betweens, exchange messages and authority, I wish they had got to know each other. Spoken about what they both held dear. Who. What they both loved. What they had each learned about life and love and God.
I wonder if their lives had been different, if they’d not both been bound by their own authority, their own callings, whether they might not have become friends. Because power is one thing, being healed is one thing, finding your way is one thing—but friendship, ah friendship, is something else, something greater, deeper, brighter, harder, finer…
And though God offers us power, and though God offers us healing, and though God offers us a way—these are nothing next to what God offers us—must long for us to accept—friendship.

Entry Filed under: Homilies,Loyola Hall


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