12 Sept 2022 – Monday of Week 24
12 Sept 2022 – Monday of Week 24
Optional Memorials: The Holy Name of Mary; St Ailbe: died in 528. Founded a monastery at Emly.
1st Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33
The Eucharistic meal can be profaned by divisions based on class and wealth
In the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first lace, when you assemble as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it, for there must be factions among you so that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait upon one another.
Responsorial: from Psalm 40
R./: Proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes
You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
Instead, here am I.. (R./)
In the scroll of the book it stands written
that I should do your will.
My God, I delight in your law
in the depth of my heart. (R./)
Your justice I have proclaimed
in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed;
you know it, O Lord. (R./)
May all who seek you
Rejoice and be glad in you
And may those who love your salvation
say ever, The Lord be glorified. (R./)
Gospel: Luke 7:1-10
For his faith, the Roman centurion receives a cure for his servant
After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.”
Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
All are called to salvation
Different facets of salvation are reflected in today’s texts. The story of the Roman centurion shows how ready a pagan can be for the Gospel; and Paul’s Letter shows how people need instruction, to return to Gospel values. The Church’s mission is clear and engaging: God wants all to be saved and to know the truth that leads to eternal life.
The pagan centurion shows even stronger faith than existed in Israel. If we transfer this into our time, the faith of a Buddhist or a Muslim can take us by surprise.
In the centurion we see both kindly concern for his ailing servant, and the humility to ask help from Jesus, at the risk of refusal, since he served in the occupying Roman army. He shows courtly deference too, “Sir, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter my house.” Open and honest, this man puts his trust in Jesus, and sends a delegation of Jewish elders to speak on his behalf. To his natural virtues he adds a humble, trusting faith. Jesus praises the faith of this foreigner.
Converts can have much to teach us who were baptised in our infancy. Long-term believers can be resistant to change, take the faith for granted, and even neglect the natural virtues. Backsliding of this kind was corroding a group founded by Paul. The Corinthians were not living in charity and peace but sharply divided into rich and poor, forming separate cliques according to their favourite preachers, whether Paul or Cephas or Apollos. Such splintering let to a travesty in their way of celebrating the Lord’s Supper.
In his effort to reunite them, Paul repeats the central tradition: The one body belongs to Christ, the one blood is that of Christ. Christians are joined with Jesus’ death and in hope of his return. They must stand united, share both hardships and material well-being together, for they all belong to the same Lord Jesus.
Faith found in surprising places
The words of that Roman centurion are adapted for use in our Mass, as we prepare to receive the Holy Eucharist, “I am not worthy to have you under my roof…only say the word and let my servant be healed.” The centurion knew the local customs, and so did not want to ask Jesus to violate the Jewish Law by entering the house of a pagan. He also showed great trust in the life-giving power of Jesus’ word. His remarkable faith is declared by Jesus to be greater than any faith he had found in Israel.
If such a person, a pagan soldier in an occupying army, shows such faith in Jesus, surely we can too. His story shows that faith can be found in the most unlikely of people and at unexpected times. We should not jump to the conclusion that people who no longer attend our church have also ceased to believe in the mercy of God. We cannot second-guess who is a person of faith and who is not. Indeed, as we join in the Mass, it is good to pray that such faith will continue to be found in surprising places.