About once every decade Christmas falls on a Sunday, giving us the opportunity to celebrate four full weeks of Advent. This is one of those years.
Today's gospel takes us to the last words we say at mass before receiving communion, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." These words are the words of the centurion personalized. The centurion spoke of his servant who needed healing. We speak these words of faith, recognizing our own need for healing.
As a commander, he centurion in the Gospel understands the power of words. He speaks and something happens. As he says,
I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
Even more so with the Word of God. The story of creation tells us he spoke and it came into being.
Each time we participate in mass and we repeat the words of the centurion, we should call to mind that we are the servants in desperate need to healing. The good news is that the medicine we need is the Eucharist. With the faith of the centurion we believe that when the priest spoke the words of Jesus,the bread and wine became His body and blood. And when we receive the Eucharist in faith, that grace can heal even those wounds we do not know we have.
On this first Monday of Advent, may we be the servant and the centurion, the one in need of healing, and the one with the faith to be healed. And so we pray, Come Lord Jesus.