It may surprise us that centurions are frequently mentioned in the New Testament and that often they are presented as men of remarkable character who are blessed with wisdom and authority. The centurion in today’s reading is a Christ-like figure despite holding an important position during the Roman occupation of Palestine. He should have been despised but instead Jesus welcomes him and praises his faith as he showed a loving concern and care for his young servant. When Jesus readily accepts to go to his house he demurs, aware that true authority belongs to Jesus and that in his presence he is really no more than a servant himself.
The centurion shows us that there are godly people even in the midst of an evil and unbelieving world. His faith shows us that we can still do good, we can still show loving care for those who are under us and for those in need. Every day we are faced with many moral dilemmas that challenge us and are not easily resolved. The current dilemma today is how to show not only concern but how to take action to prevent governments from going too far in cutting off the means of a livelihood for the poor, in shutting out refugees, in removing medical care from those needing it, in silencing the helpless and the voiceless and in supporting unethical and immoral means that harm life and civil liberties. The example of the centurion forces us to ask if those who are under us, or work for us, know they are loved by us? Do we love them so much that we try bring them Jesus, just as the centurion tried to bring Jesus to his servant?
Rev. Kail Ellis, OSA
Assistant to the President
Dean Emeritus, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Advent comes from the Latin word, adventus – an arrival or a coming. In the context of the season, Advent means that the Lord is coming. Read more of the Advent introduction...
First Week of Advent
Second Week of Advent
Third Week of Advent
Fourth Week of Advent