The Roman Centurion
Gospel Reading: Matthew 8: 1-13
Dear Community of Christians,
Illness is impressed continuously into our consciousness these days. If we are not affected ourselves, we experience images of sick people in the media, in bed or in hospitals. We are talking about diseases that affect the physical human being.
Today we also try to look beyond the purely physical sickness, and talk about the need to strengthen the immune system, the working life forces in our body. But aren’t our physical illnesses very much related to our whole personal constitution?
Very often our constitution is too weak to resist illnesses. Our will forces are often not strong enough to change something in our life towards health.
We can be sure that Jesus Christ, when he met sick people, felt a deep compassion for them. But he never healed only the physically sick. In every human being he saw their whole soul-spiritual constitution, the deeper dis-ease beyond the physical suffering.
In Jesus Christ's encounters with sick people, his most essential question is: “do you wish to become healthy”? With this he raises the question of the willpower of the sick person.
In our Gospel from today, Jesus Christ did not raise this question. It was clear. He already recognized the openness and the will forces of the Roman officer. The officer made a big step to cross the strong ethnic threshold. He even took a further step. He didn’t ask for healing for himself, but for someone he was deeply connected with.
We know from testimony of very sick people in an unconscious state, that they recognized the power of those who have prayed for them with love. Who have not left their bedside and stayed with them unconditionally. The sick experienced this healing power that supported their recovery.
This is what we are asked, to truly see and love the person in their whole constitution. Though this may be a difficult task, we carry them towards wholeness.