This is an excerpt from Fr. Jerome Magat's new book, Honoring the Covenant: Daily Mass Meditations for Busy Married Couples. We are featuring excerpts from the book for the first four days of Advent.
About the book: Couples are incredibly busy—so busy that there’s always a temptation to make spiritual growth an afterthought or a future project once the children have left or retirement sets in. And even for married persons who are open to spiritual growth, the tendency is to focus upon praying as individuals, not on praying as a couple. To remedy this gap, Honoring the Covenant contains meditations that are simple, direct, and practical. They are designed for couples who want to make time to pray together and are seeking brief and meaningful insights into the Gospel reading of the day vis à vis their married life.
Today's Gospel Mt 8:5-11
When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
"Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully."
He said to him, "I will come and cure him."
The centurion said in reply,
"Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes;
and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes;
and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
"Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven."
The Roman centurion is a man who understands authority. He knows what it means to have authority and what it means to live under its yoke. As such, he acknowledges the greatest authority of all: God become man in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The centurion does not hesitate for a moment to recognize the authority before him. By a special grace, the centurion knows that Jesus is no ordinary person. While the centurion may not have any theological training or sophistication, he does know the most necessary truth: that He who is THE truth stands before Him and he has the authority to command the healing of his servant.
How readily do I recognize Jesus' authority over my life and do I see his authority over my life as a burden or blessing? Jesus marvels at the centurion's faith. Would he marvel at mine?
Lord, I beg you for the grace to acknowledge in my mind and accept in my heart your loving authority over me, which sets me free to live not simply as I want - but as I ought. May I always embrace your authority as my key to authentic interior freedom and flourishing and may I grow ever-convinced that it is only when I live under your authority that I experience a re-ordering in my often disordered and hectic life.
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Bio: Fr. Jerome Magat, SThD, is a longtime friend of Theology of Home. He is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. While a parochial vicar, he founded the Guadalupe Free Clinic of Colonial Beach in 2005, the diocese's first free medical clinic for the poor, of which Theology of Home is a proud supporter. He is a faculty member of St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California.