Gospel: Mt 8:5-11
When Jesus entered Capernaum, an army captain approached him, to ask his help, “Sir, my servant lies sick at home. He is paralyzed and suffers terribly.“ Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.“
The captain answered, “I am not worthy to have you under my roof. Just give an order and my boy will be healed. For I myself, a junior officer, give orders to my soldiers. And if I say to one, ‘Go!‘ he goes; and if I say to another, ‘Come!‘ he comes; and if I say to my servant, ‘Do this!‘ he does it.“
When Jesus heard this, he was astonished; and said to those who were following him, “I tell you, I have not found such faith in Israel. I say to you, many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven.
Advent is the start of the liturgical calendar of the Church. Advent, as we know is the celebration of the Lord‘s coming, preparing us for the celebration of Christ. It‘s a season of joyful, hopeful, faithful and prayerful waiting for God‘s promised Messiah. It reminds us too that the Lord is coming again in Glory at the fullness of time. This we anticipate in advent. Our readings speak of the end of time.
The Jewish thought was that the Messiah will come for them exclusively. He is not for any other group or race. Jesus favouring the request of the Roman centurion is immediately telling us that Jesus is not of the Jewish belief. He comes for everyone; the poor and the rich, the gentiles and the Jewish, the lost and the insider. The centurion though pagan won the Heart of Jesus. Showing that He is concerned with everyone (coming for everyone), Jesus limited not His favour alone to the centurion‘s need but to His Household servant. Christmas is for all.
God‘s house is open to all. It requires neither a birth, adoption, nor a baptismal. Only Faith, like that of the centurion, is asked. Faith like the mustard seed will suffice.