Gospel: Mt 8:5-17
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; but the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown out into extreme darkness; there, they will wail and grind their teeth.“
Then Jesus said to the captain, “Go home now. As you believed, so let it be.“ And at that moment, his servant was healed.
Jesus went to Peter’s house and found Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with fever. He took her by the hand and the fever left her; she got up and began to wait on him.
Toward evening, they brought to Jesus many people possessed by evil spirits; and with a word, he drove out the spirits. He also healed all who were sick. In this way, what was said by the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled: He bore our infirmities and took on himself our diseases.
One of the themes that today’s readings focus on is the Christian virtue of hospitality. Welcoming strangers is something that we joyfully do because we believe that God unexpectedly comes to us through strangers in circumstances we least expect. Welcoming the Lord requires humility, faith and generosity. In the First Reading, Abraham, filled with faith, welcomed the three mysterious visitors and generously provided for their needs. On the other hand, the army captain in the Gospel, welcomed the Lord’s word into his life. He may have felt unworthy to welcome the Lord into his home but he has already welcomed Him into his heart. Profound faith and generosity are the inner dispositions that we need to welcome the Lord–in the various ways He manifests Himself.
Indeed, God cannot be outdone in generosity. He reciprocated Abraham’s faith and generosity by giving him and his wife Sarah a son–in spite of their old age. He likewise rewarded the faith and generous interior welcome of the military officer by acceding to his request for the cure of his servant boy.