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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

The Power of Faith

'Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.’ And his servant was healed at that moment.'

(Matthew 8:13 NKJV)

The story of the centurion challenges us to faith, to believe beyond all expectations, despite the risk of being left unanswered. It is not difficult to see yourself again in the figure of this man, especially for those who have a sick relative and are experiencing a similar drama. The centurion has deep suffering in his heart for his servant. It is not, therefore, a family bond that pushes him to turn to Jesus. Behind the figure of this individual it is possible to glimpse all those who, in the church, take care of others. His words, steeped in pain, highlight our selfish being, focused exclusively on our life. The life of others passes before our eyes, most of the time, unnoticed. Instead, the bible reminds us to smile with those who smile and to suffer with those who suffer (Romans 12:15). Each of us is unique and that is why we must learn to recognize the need of the other based on its specificity. Jesus does not hesitate to consent to the request of the Roman soldier, but he goes further: "I will come and heal him" (v. 7). How much we would like to hear the same words. And that is why I would like to understand what produced it. The first thing that comes to me is that the request was not centered on a selfish need of the interlocutor, but was moved by the same suffering that that servant was going through and that had moved his master's heart. May our spirit go back to being driven not by all that is carnal, but by what is, instead, spiritual. It is necessary that we nurture that sensitivity to feel the sufferings of those who slowly die without the grace of God, that the "passion for souls" blossom in us. What are we doing so that the Gospel breaks down the walls of indifference? What in order for it to continue to save the lost? If it is true that it is the Spirit who convinces us of sin, it is up to us to pray, intercede and fight against bonds, because our fight is not against flesh and blood. A struggle that must be conducted precisely with prayer and with the Word. In Luke's account (7:1-10) it is reported that the soldier turned to the priests so that they could talk to Jesus about the condition of the servant. These underlined how the centurion had done so many pious works for the Jewish people, as if to beg for a well-deserved intervention. Their mentality was still relegated to the Old Covenant. We tend to follow Christ according to our thoughts and hopes, losing sight of the fact that our actions must take into account his centrality. The centurion, despite being a man in authority, is weak and shows himself humble. At Jesus' response, with a unique modesty, he exudes his sense of unworthiness to the possibility of welcoming him into the house. He also knows that he is a Roman while Jesus is a Jew, and that these did not enter the house of the Romans to avoid becoming impure. Furthermore, the soldier, as a man in authority, understands well that the word of Jesus has power over good and evil, over death and sickness and asks only for that. The centurion recognizes the strength that his word possesses, while we often do not believe they can also be addressed to our life. Before a person who is humbly recognizing the power of God's word, Jesus declares that he has not seen such faith in any other man in Israel. Jesus' words took effect and the servant was healed. We sometimes think that the exercise of faith requires long journeys, tiring journeys and years of waiting or theological formation. It will be true that God's intervention is not always immediate, but a moment is enough to believe, ask and receive, as much as a crumb or that mustard seed mentioned by the Lord. It was a moment of faith when the woman with the flow of blood approached Jesus in the crowd and touched his robe, having decided in her heart that that would be enough to heal her.

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 42 October 11, Isaiah 37-38; Colossians 3 October 12, Isaiah 39-40; Colossians 4 October 13, Isaiah 41-42; 1 Thessalonians 1 October 14, Isaiah 43-44; 1 Thessalonians 2 October 15, Isaiah 45-46; 1 Thessalonians 3 October 16, Isaiah 47-49; 1 Thessalonians 4 October 17, Isaiah 50-52; 1 Thessalonians 5


Photo by Andrew Stuart,

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