“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed.”

The first weekday Mass of Advent gives us the story of Jesus and the centurion with the suffering servant (Mt 8:5-11).  Jesus enters Capernaum only to be approached by a Roman soldier who tells him of the bad condition of his servant.  Jesus immediately offers to come and cure him but the centurion says that he is unworthy to have Jesus come to his house and that He can heal him from afar, making an analogy to his own power of authority.  Jesus is stunned by this response (see above) and tells His followers that He has not encountered such faith in all of Israel.  Jesus goes on to say that many will enter the Kingdom from far reaches.  Wouldn’t it be great to “amaze” Jesus in this way?  It is not easy to do.  In fact, the only other place, aside from Lk 7 where this episode is also relayed, that Jesus is described using the same word (eqaumasen in Greek) is in Mk 6:6 where he is amazed at the lack of faith of His own countrymen who refuse to believe in Him.  So it is our level of faith that makes Jesus marvel.  Faith in God in all circumstances, even the most extraordinary, brings us closer to Him.  Will he not grant us what we need as He did the centurion?  This man did not even explicitly ask Jesus for help but Jesus knew his heart which then was on display for all to say in his explicit declaration of faith in Jesus of Nazareth.  The Lord knows our hearts as well.  Is it with Him or far from Him?  Do we come to Him humbly, trusting in Him, having supreme confidence that He will provide what we need in time of trial?  Do we extol the lordship of Jesus to all who will listen?  This Roman pagan is an example for us, immortalized in the pages of not one gospel, but two.  Should not we who know Jesus intimately trust in Him all the more?  And if that personal relationship has splintered or if it really never existed then there is no time like the present to make it right.  May Jesus be amazed by our total faith and never by our lack of faith.

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