16 September 2013

Mirroring the Faith of the Centurion

(Today's Readings)

“When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him…”

The great eastern mystic Ephrem the Syrian reflects with bold awe at this interaction noting that “God marveled at him [the centurion].”

Perhaps even more importantly for us, Ephrem notes that the centurion is the “first of the faith of the faith of the Gentiles.”

It is the faith of the centurion that carries the day, not simply because it is bold, but because it is a radical departure from the norm.

Perhaps our greatest value to the Church, as well as the to world, at this moment in time, is our ability, if we so choose, to present ourselves boldly and newly as people for whom faith in the Living God is the end point and goal of our lives.

What makes this faith even more amazing is that it is different at its root than most other types of “faith” that we meet on a daily basis.  Our faith is called to be –like the faith of the centurion - not in ourselves, is not in the State; not in the social movement of the week, nor even in the latest version of Saint Francis presented to us by scholars.

Rather, our faith – again, just like the faith of the centurion – takes as its object and end the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

But why?

Because there are times when the plain words of Scripture are simply enough. 

Because, as Paul’s letter to Timothy tells us: “For there is one God.  There is also one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all.”

Because, we go to the altar each morning with knowledge that what we profess is true. 

Because, to recall Ephrem, we are Gentiles and the centurion was the first one of us to leap into the unknown.

And now it is our turn to follow.

1 comment:

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