THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
The Third Sunday After The Epiphany
24 January 2021
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Jesus was in the mountain preaching to souls before He came down to work the cures of bodies. The Word of God is all things to all men. The disciples were able to follow Jesus into the mountain to hear the greater supernatural things. The Leper and the Centurion were not yet ready or able to reach those Heavenly heights. Jesus descended to them. When we cannot come to Him, He comes to us wherever we are.
What is required of all of us, no matter where we are spiritually, is simple, humble faith. Faith enabled the Disciples to follow Jesus into the heights of the mountain and hear the Divine Word. Faith brought the Israelite Leper and the Gentile Centurion to Jesus on the lower physical level. In this, we see that everyone can and must approach Jesus to be saved.
The Israelite Leper first worshiped Jesus and acknowledged by this that Jesus is God. With this, he then appeals to the Will of God "if Thou willest." We do not always know the Will of God. It may be that our sickness or difficulty is God's Will for us. We should not seek freedom from some burden that God wills us to have. Hence, it is essential that we begin all our prayers of petition by seeking to know God's Will in our particular circumstance. Jesus further teaches us by His example in the Garden of Gethsemane "Not My Will but Thine be done." Jesus answers the Leper by first confirming His Will "I will it."
Knowing the Will of God, then we may proceed with the Leper "Thou canst make me clean." Once our petition is firmly in line with God's Holy Will, then we may expect a positive answer from God. Jesus said: "Be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed."
Because this man was an Israelite, he was required to fulfill the Law given through Moses and offer God the offering through the priest. Jesus had not yet sacrificed Himself and fulfilled the Law. So, the Leper was required to make the offering. On the contrary, the Centurion was not obliged to this because he was not an Israelite. The Centurion was not under the Law and was free of the Law as we all are now that Jesus has fulfilled the Law.
The Centurion's petition is very similar to the Leper's. He speaks openly to Jesus of his servant's dire situation but does not petition anything. This, again, is a way of seeking to know the Will of God. Jesus knows and understands and offers to go physically to the Centurion's servant. Now that the Centurion knows the Will of God, he does not need to ask the question. Humility and Faith now take over in this man's petition. In all humility, he says: "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof." Then with all faith, he continues: "only say the word, and my servant shall be healed."
This humility is momentous, but this Faith reaches even greater heights, so much so that Jesus draws our attention to it. "I have not found so great faith in Israel." The Centurion has recognized that God is spiritually present everywhere, and His physical presence is not necessary to cure his servant. Just as the Centurion is a man subject to others, yet he commands those under him, and they carry out his will, so it is with God. If He only says the word, Angels will carry out His command. Or the very elements themselves hear and obey Him. Just as God can command the Angels, so He can will any sickness to depart, and He can command that health return.
Truly blessed were the Apostles as they were privileged to see, hear, and touch Our Lord, but as Jesus tells St. Thomas, we are even more blessed for believing even though we have not seen Him in the Flesh. We are to see Him with the eyes of True Faith. He offers Himself hidden under the appearance of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist. He is physically present, even though hidden. This requires Faith on our part, but it seems that God asks for an even greater faith from those who are unable to receive Jesus physically in the Holy Eucharist. He asks them to make Spiritual Communions and know that He only needs to say the word, and our souls are healed. He is present everywhere and always; we can Spiritually receive Him at any time, in any place, and as often as we like. All we need is the humility and faith of the Centurion.
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