Faith Daily | 25 June 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 554
Almighty and everlasting God,
you are always more ready to hear than we are to pray,
and give more than either we desire or deserve:
pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy,
forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid,
and giving us those good things
which we are not worthy to ask,
save through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ,
your Son our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 8: 5-17
5When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him 6and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” 7And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” 8The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I also am a man 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.” 10When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.
14When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; 15he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. 16That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. 17This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Peter Galbraith
The reading today is totally focused around Jesus’s ministry of healing. Included for special mention are a gentile centurion and his servant, and Peter’s mother-in-law an Israeli citizen. And then he was besieged by many, requesting they all be healed of their infirmities. He refused no-one. In this passage we receive a lesson in setting priorities – for Jesus here it was to meet urgent human needs first of all.
His response to the centurion must have shocked listeners. To point out that this outsider had shown more faith than anyone he had encountered in Israel would have been a stunning rebuke. Like saying that someone off the streets had shown more Christian qualities than any church goer. We wonder if Peter remembered the occasion when, following his dream, he was called to minister to another centurion (Cornelius) in Acts chapter 10. It seems from the record provided there that Peter still had some learning to do in recognising that God’s hand had been extended to all – and not just in terms of physical healing. Finally he came to understand that “of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons (alt- shows no partiality)” (Acts 10 v 34).
The apostle Paul brings everything together in Galations 3 where he explains how those of the old and new covenants have been made one through the sacrifice of Christ.
“In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptised into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then are you Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise”. (Galations 3 v 26-29: NRSV)
Sometimes, as with Peter more than once, it takes time for understanding to mature, even when events materialise before our eyes. And time as a gift for contemplation has no single interpretation.
FINAL PRAYER (Michael Leunig)
Across the difficult terrain of our existence we have attempted to build a highway and in so doing have lost our footpath. Lead us there, where in simplicity we may move at the speed of natural creatures and feel the earth’s love beneath our feet. Lead us there where step by step we may feel the movement of creation in our hearts. And lead us there where side by side we may feel the embrace of the common soul. Nothing can be loved at speed. God, lead us to the slow path; to the joyous insights of the pilgrim; another way of knowing; another way of being. Amen.