Under Orders

“A centurion came … to him … saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home …’ And [Jesus] said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ … [T]he centurion answered him, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.’ … When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said … ‘Go; be it done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed at that very moment.”—Matthew 8:5-8, 10-13

I am amazed by the faith exhibited by “outsiders” and “outcasts” in the Gospels! And so is Jesus. Take the Syrophoenician woman who insists that “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs” (cf. Mk. 7:25; Mt. 15: 21ff); or the hemorrhaging woman who dares touch Jesus’ cloak to be healed despite her “uncleanness” (cf. Mt. 9:20). Recall the centurion at the foot of the cross who, “filled with awe”, makes a profession of faith – “Truly this was the Son of God!” – as Christ, in a loud cry, yields his spirit to His Father and breathes His last causing an earthquake that splits rocks, opens tombs, and tears the temple curtain from top to bottom (cf. Mt. 27: 50ff); or the centurion in Capernaum whose servant was paralyzed at home and required the intervention of someone with real power to save and restore: he highlights the rewards of “the obedience of faith”.

This centurion approached Jesus like so many of us in need of healing for ourselves or someone we love. But what makes his story unique is that, deeming himself “not worthy to have you come under my roof”, he asks Jesus to simply “say the word and my servant will be healed.” Amazing! “When Jesus heard this he marveled.” (cf. Mt. 8:10) This non-Jewish Roman official had faith in the Word of God which was capable of bringing the Universe into existence and even today can create, recreate, and bring to naught in a split second. This man had confidence because he understood authority: he knew what it means to give and receive orders, and what can be accomplished with real power: “I 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 he does it.” (Mt. 8:9)

Action Step

In what ways might you be called to follow the centurion’s example of faith and trust this Year? Ask the Lord in prayer to show you areas in which you need to allow Christ to exercise his authority more fully in your life. Make an explicit profession of faith in His authority over every aspect of your life, even as we repeat the words of the centurion at every Mass we attend: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” If you have faith, be ready to have Christ act in some marvelous way!

About the Author

Martha Fernández-Sardina

Martha Fernández-Sardina, the Director of Prepare The Way Enterprises and RememberYouAreLoved.com, is an international, bilingual speaker and consultant touching thousands through radio, TV, articles, training seminars, and talks. Praised internationally for N.E.T.S. - New Evangelization Training School™ and the Hispanic Festival of Faith, her programs educate, enthuse, and equip Catholics for the new evangelization. She is the producer and host of Prepare The Way™, a show dedicated to all matters related to the new evangelization. To enjoy her outreach projects, articles, TV and radio interviews, and more follow, friend, and find her on Facebook.com/MFernandezSardina and Twitter.com/iEvangelize, at RememberYouAreLoved.com and iEvangelize.wordpress.com.

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  • Kizito Alex

    i am also moved by centurion’s prayer/faith, our son will be operated of hernia on thursaday-19. but am aware that with faith we can move God’s mercy and perform a healing miracle to our. but then how am i supposed to move God’s mercy guided by centurion’s kind of prayer? can some one show me how i can pray, because i know between now and Thursday there is still a lot of time to receive God’s miracle.

    Kizito Alex

  • RememberYouAreLoved.com

    I suggest you simply pray! Jesus says we should A.S.K.: Ask. Seek. Knock. What
    we receive when we ask, what we find when we seek, and what pathways are
    opened before us when we knock depends on God in whom we trust. God oftentimes does
    perform miracles and does the “impossible” – and many times He does
    not. Why is up to him. In God we trust! We trust that the All-Knowing God knows
    what He is doing! We trust that the All-Loving God is tenderly loving us amidst
    trials and even amidst tribulation. If He heals your son (and I pray he does!) and
    a surgery is avoided, great! But even if He does not, in God and His love and
    His wisdom we trust! Be at peace. A.S.K. like th3 Centurion: “SY THE WORD, Lord,
    and my son will be healed! Speak, Lord!” AND end like Jesus our model and Lord
    did: “If… but not My will be done, but Thine.” God bless you.

  • Beverlyann

    Excellent reply. I was trying to find the words to say the same thing.

  • George Alexa

    I must have read that Gospel hundreds of times in my life. And thousands of times saying the prayer just prior to Communion, and it is always comforting…but still I wonder. We all seek God’s help and we should and some receive the “miracle” and some receive something they rather not. My wife, who is 62 and has terminal cancer, would rather receive this “miracle” and she prays for a healing; however, she knows that the Lord probably has something greater than a physical healing for her, though she knows not what that might be. But she continues to ask, seek, etc. – I do too.

  • Martha-RememberYouAreLoved.com

    Dear George,

    How hard this must be at times for you, your wife and the rest of the family. How hard it must be at times to pray and wait, hope and surrender. How challenging it must at times to trust and accept that God knows what He’s doing or allowing – as you try to understand the theological intricacies of God’s “perfect will” and His “permissive will”. How challenging it must be at times to understand why an All-Powerful God seems to not exercise His power – when it would be so easy for Him to simply “say the word.”

    Why God does and doesn’t do or allow certain things is beyond me. But one thing I know for
    certain – and I pray I do not sound insensitive or crass:

    Awe… That’s what your dear wife is going to experience the day she meets her Lord face to face – whether that comes soon or after a long life at your side. Heaven is awe-inspiring. Breathe-taking. Glorious beyond description. Indescribable. St. Paul says that ‘eye has seen, ear as not heard,
    it has not as much as dawned on man what God has in store for us!’

    Nothing compares to Heaven, to being in the presence and embrace of “The Omni” – forever! Not the best marriage, not the greatest kids, not the finest job, not all our accomplishments and successes and joys and blessings combined! Nothing compares.

    I can barely wait! But I have to. We must all wait… patiently.
    And when our name is called, we can rejoice at what is just around the corner – even as we experience some sadness for those we are leaving behind. And those “left behind” for the time being, can rejoice that our loved one is being called into glory – even as we experience some sadness for being left behind.

    I have been wondering lately what difference it would make if we all read and heard about this, and pondered and spoke about this more often, if we pictured what awaits us in the presence of the Lord. Would we long for Heaven… Would we, like St. Paul, be just as happy living longer or being
    called home sooner rather than later knowing that our Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omni-loving Father has set up a “heavenly win-win situation” for us: blessed if we stay, blessed if we go!

    I hope and pray – literally – that this thought brings both you and your wife a new perspective and some peace, even a new longing knowing that the best is yet to come – truly. You are in my prayers.

  • Kizito Alex

    Thanks a lot indeed you hv helped understand more of A.S.K. today our son was not operated my sister stopped it for some reason: i don’t believe in dreams 100% but in past night my sister who stays 60Km away dreamed some thing not good on this operation and in the morning she boarded a taxi & stopped my wife, even me in that same night i dreamed a failed operation and my son had died i got shocked but i ignored it, i didn’t even call my wife to halt her. but thank my sister because she did. well i thanked God, and my prayer is to guide us in other safer ways which my son can get healed. and guess what, yesterday night i told them that our son will not be operated, and in the morning at work i recorded a prayer which i played repeatedly on my PC asking God to drop that operation not because of the dream but because i felt our son is still little (2yrs) to bare a surgery.

    well thanks, let me continue to meditate on what you have written to us God has talked to me through you.