Monday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel without frontiers
A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.” And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. For I too am a person 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 at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health. Lk 7,2-10
Jesus of Nazareth knew that the divine plan of salvation is universal, but the faith of this centurion shows that every man, even if a pagan, is in search for the truth and waiting for the salvation. In the God’s plan, Israel would have had to be the chosen people to proclaim the gospel to the entire world, but when the sower goes out to sow, also the grains which fall into the neighbor’s field, if they find good soil, take root and produce grain . This is what happens with this centurion. Jesus, in the today’s passage, noted that the seed fallen by chance in the pagan world often flourishes better than what was sown among the Jews: there are fewer thorns, less stones and less harshness. Thus, addressing the crowd following him, he said: “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith”. And because of this faith the centurion’s servant healed. I remind of some episodes when I was young: I was in seventh grade and I had to repeat the France language in September and my mother, during the summer, before leaving home to go to play football, forced me to develop a composition in that language, which she knew quite well. The son of a farmer, Sergio, who was used to come to call me, often sat at the table next to me, waiting patiently until I had finished the task, then to go to play together. At first he waited in silence, but in late summer, after listening to the corrections of my mother, who occasionally was coming to check to what extent the composition was, Sergio had also learned a little French. I was amazed to see that he was able to help me and he was doing it to go out to play some time in advance. The seed may flourish where it falls, as long as it meets the good soil.