First Monday of Advent

Monday, December 2, 2019

Matthew 8:5-11

Friends, in our Gospel today a Roman centurion comes to Jesus and says, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully. . . . I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”  

Any objective observer would say, “Well, this is ridiculous! What this man is asking is impossible.” He is not only asking that his servant might be cured; he is asking that he be cured at a distance, with simply a word. He’s at the limit of what he could possibly know or control or measure. And yet he trusts; he has faith.

Søren Kierkegaard defined faith as “a passion for the impossible.” Is God opposed to reason? Absolutely not; God gave us the gift of reason. Does God want us to be unrealistic? No; he wants us to use all of our powers of imagination and analysis. But faith goes beyond reason; it is a passion for what reason can’t see. 

That centurion had a passion for the impossible. And that’s why Jesus says to him, in some of the highest praise you’ll find in the Gospel: “In no one in Israel have I found such faith.”

Reflect: What would you like Jesus to “only say the word” for and it will be done? Have you asked him with the faith of the centurion?

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