God bless you.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)
For: Monday, December 2, 2019
1st Week of Advent
From: Matthew 8:5-11
The Centurion’s Faith
 As He (Jesus) entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to Him, besee-
ching Him  and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terri-
ble distress.”  And He said to him, “I will come and heal him.”  But the cen-
turion 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.  For 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.” 
When Jesus heard him, He marvelled, and said to those who followed Him, “Tru-
ly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.  I tell you, many
will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
5-11. “Centurion”: an officer of the Roman army in control of one hundred men.
This man’s faith is still an example to us. At the solemn moment when a Chris-
tian is about to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the Church’s liturgy
places on his lips and in his heart these words of the centurion, to enliven his
faith: Lord, I am not worthy...”.
The Jews of this time regarded any Jew who entered a Gentile’s house as con-
tracting legal impurity (cf. John 19:28; Acts 11:2-3). This centurion has the defe-
rence not to place Jesus in an embarrassing position in the eyes of His fellow
Israelites. He shows that he is convinced that Jesus has the power over disease
and illness; he suggests that if Jesus just says the word, He will do what is nee-
ded without having actually to visit the house; he is reasoning, in a simple, logi-
cal way, on the basis of his own professional experience. Jesus avails of this
meeting with a Gentile believer to make a solemn prophecy to the effect that
His Gospel is addressed to the world at large; all men, of every nation and race,
of every age and condition, are called to follow Christ.
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase
The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.
Please pray for this ministry and support it through PayPal here. For other
options (check, money order, etc.) please contact the Listowner directly.
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” — St Jerome
5. And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him,
6. And saying, Lord, my servant lies at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
7. And Jesus says to him, I will come and heal him.
8. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
9. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.
PSEUDO-CHRYS. The Lord having taught His disciples in the mount, and healed one leper at the foot of the mount, came to Capharnaum. This is a mystery, signifying that after the purification of the Jews He went to the Gentiles.
HAYMO; For Capharnaum, which is interpreted, The town of fatness, or, The field of consolation, signifies the Church, which was gathered out of the Gentiles, which is replenished with spiritual fatness, according to that, That my soul may be filled with marrow and fatness, and under the troubles of the world is comforted concerning heavenly things, according to that, Your consolations have rejoiced my soul. Hence it is said, When he had entered into Capharnaum the centurion came to him.
AUG. This centurion was of the Gentiles, for Judea had already soldiers of the Roman empire
PSEUDO-CHRYS. This centurion was the first fruits of the Gentiles, and in comparison of his faith, all the faith of the Jews was unbelief; He neither heard Christ teaching, nor saw the leper when he was cleansed, but from hearing only that he had been healed, he believed more than he heard; and so he mystically typified the Gentiles that should come, who had neither read the Law nor the Prophets concerning Christ, nor had seen Christ Himself work His miracles. He came to Him and besought Him, saying, Lord, my servant lies at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously afflicted. Mark the goodness of the centurion, who for the health of his servant was in so great haste and anxiety, as though by his death he should suffer loss, not of money, but of his well being. For he reckoned no difference between the servant and the master; their place in this world may be different, but their nature is one. Mark also his faith, in that he said not, Come and heal him, because that Christ who stood there was present in every place; and his wisdom, in that he said not, Heal him here on this spot, for he knew that He was mighty to do, wise to understand, and merciful to hearken, therefore he did but declare the sickness, leaving it to the Lord, by His merciful power to heal. And he is grievously afflicted; this shows how he loved him, for when any that we love is pained or tormented, though it be but slightly, we think him more afflicted than he really is.
RABAN. All these things he recounts with grief, that he is sick, that it is with palsy; that he is grievously afflicted therewith, the more to show the sorrow of his own heart, and to move the Lord to have mercy. In like manner ought all to feel for their servants, and to take thought for them.
CHRYS. But some say that he says these things in excuse of himself, as reasons why he did not bring the sick man himself. For it was impossible to bring one in a palsy, in great torment, and at the point to die. But I rather think it a mark of his great faith; in as much as he knew that a word alone was enough to restore the sick man, he deemed it superfluous to bring him.
HILARY; Spiritually interpreted, the Gentiles are the sick in this world, and afflicted with the diseases of sin, all their limbs being altogether unnerved, and unfit for their duties of standing and walking. The sacrament of their salvation is fulfilled in this centurion's servant, of whom it is sufficiently declared that he was the head of the Gentiles that should believe. What sort of head this is, the song of Moses in Deuteronomy teaches, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the Angels.
REMIG. Or, in the centurion are figured those of the Gentiles who first believed, and were perfect in virtue. For a centurion is one who commands a hundred soldiers; and a hundred is a perfect number. Rightly, therefore, the centurion prays for his servant, because the first fruits of the Gentiles prayed to God for the Salvation of the whole Gentile world.
JEROME; The Lord seeing the centurion's faith, humbleness, and thoughtfulness, straightway promises to go and heal him; Jesus says to him, I will come and heal him.
CHRYS. Jesus here does what He never did; He always follows the wish of the supplicant, but here He goes before it, and not only promises to heal him, but to go to his house. This He does, that we may learn the worthiness of the centurion.
PSEUDO-CHRYS. Had not he said, I will come and heal him, the other would never have answered, I am not worthy. It was because it was a servant for whom he made petition, that Christ promised to go, in order to teach us not to have respect to the great, and overlook the little, but to honor poor and rich alike.
JEROME; As we commend the centurion's faith in that he believed that the Savior was able to heal the paralytic; so his humility is seen in his professing himself unworthy that the Lord should come under his roof; as it follows, And the centurion answered and said to him, Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof.
RABAN. Conscious of his gentile life, he thought he should be more burdened than profited by this act of condescension from Him with whose faith he was indeed endued, but with whose sacraments he was not yet initiated.
AUG. By declaring himself unworthy, he showed himself worthy, not indeed into whose house, But into whose heart, Christ the Word of God should enter. Nor could He have said this with so much faith and humility, had he not borne in his heart Him whom he feared to have in his house. And indeed it would have been no great blessedness that Jesus should enter within his walls, if He had not already entered into his heart.
CHRYSOLOGUS. Mystically, his house was the body which contained his soul, which contains within it the freedom of the mind by a heavenly vision. But God disdains neither to inhabit flesh, nor to enter the roof of our body.
PSEUDO-ORIGEN; And now also when the heads of Churches, holy men and acceptable to God, enter your roof, then in them the Lord also enters, and do you think of yourself as receiving the Lord. And when you eat and drink the Lord's Body, then the Lord enters under your roof, and you then should humble Yourself, saying, Lord, I am not worthy. For where He enters unworthily, there He enters to the condemnation of him who receives Him.
JEROME; The thoughtfulness of the centurion appears herein, that he saw the Divinity hidden beneath the covering of Body; wherefore he adds, But speak the word only, and my servant will be healed.
PSEUDO-CHRYS. He knew that Angels stood by unseen to minister to Him, who turn every word of his into act; you and should Angels fail, yet diseases are healed by His life-giving command.
HILARY; Also he therefore says that it needed only a word to heal his son, because all the salvation of the Gentiles is of faith, and the life of them all is in the precepts of the Lord; therefore he continues saying, For I am a man set under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, amid he does it.
PSEUDO-CHRYS. He has here developed the mystery of the Father and the Son, by the secret suggestion of the Holy Spirit; as much as to say, Though I am under the command of another, yet have I power to command those who are under me; so also You, though under the command of the Father, in so far as you art man, yet have You power over the Angels. But Sabellius perhaps affirms, seeking to prove that the Son is the same as the Father, that it is to be understood thus; 'If I who am set under authority have yet power to command, how much more You who art under the authority of none.' But the words will not hear this exposition; for he said not, ' If I being a man under authority,' but, 'For I also am a man set under authority;' clearly not drawing a distinction, but pointing to a resemblance in this respect between himself and Christ.
AUG. If I who am under command have yet power to command others, how much more you whom all powers serve!
GLOSS. you art able without Your bodily presence, by the ministry of Your Angels, to say to this disease, Go, and it will leave him; and to say to health, Come, and it shall come to him.
HAYMO; Or, we may understand by those that are set under the centurion, the natural virtues in which many of the Gentiles were mighty, or even thoughts good and bad. Let us say to the bad, Depart, and they will depart; let us call the good, and they shall come; and our servant, that is, our body, let us bid that it submit itself to the Divine will.
AUG. What is here said seems to disagree with Luke's account, When the centurion heard concerning Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And again, When he was come nigh to the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying, Lord, trouble not Yourself, for I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.
CHRYS. But Some say that these are two different occurrences; an opinion which has much to support it. Of Him in Luke it is said, He loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue; but of this one Jesus says, I have not found so great faith in Israel; whence it might seem that the other was a Jew. But in my opinion they are both the same person. What Luke relates that he sent to Jesus to come to him, betrays the friendly services of the Jews. We may suppose that when the centurion sought to go to Jesus, he was prevented by the Jews, who offered to go themselves for the purpose of bringing him. But as soon as he was delivered from their importunity, then he sent to say, Do not think that it was from want of respect that I did not come, but because I thought myself unworthy to receive you into my house. When then Matthew relates, that he spoke thus not through friends, but in his own person, it does not contradict Luke's account; for both have only represented the centurion's anxiety, and that he had a right opinion of Christ. And we may suppose that he first sent this message to Him by friends as he approached, and after, when He was come thither, repeated it Himself. But if they are relating different stories, then they do not contradict each other, but supply mutual deficiencies.
AUG. Matthew therefore intended to state summarily all that passed between the centurion and the Lord, which was indeed done through others with the view of commending his faith; as the Lord Spoke, I have not found so great faith in Israel. Luke, on the other hand, has narrated the whole as it was done, that so we might be obliged to understand in what sense Matthew, who could not err, meant that the centurion himself came to Christ, namely, in a figurative sense through faith.
CHRYS. For indeed there is no necessary contradiction between Luke's statement, that he had built a synagogue, and this, that he was not an Israelite; for it was quite possible, that one who was not a Jew should have built a synagogue, and should love the nation.
10. When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
11. And I say to you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of Heaven.
CHRYS. As what the leper had affirmed concerning Christ's power, If you will, you can cleanse me, was confirmed by the mouth of Christ, saying, I will, be you clean; so here He did not blame the centurion for hearing testimony to Christ's authority, but even commended him. Nay more; it is something greater than commendation that the Evangelist signifies in the words, But Jesus hearing marveled.
PSEUDO-CHRYS; Observe how great and what that is at which God the Only-begotten marvels! Gold, riches, principalities, are in His sight as the shadow or the flower that fades; in the sight of God none of these things is wonderful, as though it were great or precious, but faith only; this He wonders at, and pays honor to, this He esteems acceptable to Himself.
AUG. But who was He that had created this faith in him, but only He who now marveled at it? But even had it come from any other, how should He marvel who knew all things future? When the Lord marvels, it is only to teach us what we ought to wonder at; for all these emotions in Him are not signs of passion, but examples of a teacher.
CHRYS. Wherefore He is said to have thus wondered in the presence of all the people, giving them an example that they also should wonder at Him; for it follows, And he said to them that followed, I have not found so great faith in Israel.
AUG. He praises his faith, But gives command to quit his profession of a soldier .
JEROME; This He speaks of the present generation, not of all the Patriarchs and Prophets of past ages.
PSEUDO-CHRYS. Andrew believed, but it was after John had said, Behold the Lamb of God; Peter believed, but it was at the preaching of Andrew; Philip believed, but it was by reading the Scriptures; and Nathaniel first received a proof of His Divinity, and then spoke forth his confession of faith.
PSEUDO-ORIGEN; Jairus a prince in Israel, in making request for his daughter, said not, 'Speak the word,' but, 'Come quickly, Nicodemus, hearing of the sacrament of faith., asks How can these things be? Mary and Martha say, Lord, if you had been here, my brother had not died; as though distrusting that God's power could be in all places at the same time.
PSEUD-CHRYS. Or, if we would suppose that his faith was greater than even that of the Apostles, Christ's testimony to it must be understood as though every good in a man should be commended relatively to his character; as it were a great thing in a countryman to speak with wisdom, but in a philosopher the same would be nothing wonderful. In this way it may be said of the centurion, In none other have I found so great faith in Israel.
CHRYS. For it is a different thing for a Jew to believe and for a Gentile.
JEROME; Or perhaps in the person of the centurion the faith of the Gentiles is preferred to that of Israel; whence He proceeds, But I say to you, Many shall come from the east and from the west.
AUG He says, not 'all,' but many; yet these from the east and west; for by these two quarters the whole world is intended.
HAYMO; Or; From the east shall come they, who pass into the kingdom as soon as they are enlightened; from the west they who have suffered persecution for the faith even to death. Or, he comes from the east, who has served God from a child; he from the west who in decrepit age has turned to God.
PSEUDO-ORIGEN; How then does He say in another place, that the chosen are few? Because in each generation there are few that are chosen, but when all are gathered together in the day of visitation they shall be found many; they shall sit down, not the bodily posture, but the spiritual rest, not with human food, but with an eternal feast, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, where is light, joy, glory, and eternal length of days.
JEROME; Because the God of Abraham, the Maker of heaven, is the Father of Christ, therefore also is Abraham in the kingdom of heaven, and with him will sit down the nations who have believed in Christ the Son of the Creator.
AUG. As we see Christians called to the heavenly feast, where is the bread of righteousness, the drink of wisdom; So we see the Jews in reprobation. The children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness, that is, the Jews, who have received the Law, who observe the types of all things that were to be, yet did not acknowledge the realities when present.
JEROME; Or the Jews may be called the children of the kingdom, because God reigned among them heretofore.
CHRYS. Or, He calls them the children of the kingdom, because the kingdom was prepared for them, which was the greater grief to them.
AUG. Moses set before the people of Israel no other God than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Christ sets forth the very same God. So that so far was He from seeking to turn that people away from their own God, that He therefore threatened them with the outer darkness, because He saw them turned away from their own God. And in this kingdom He tells them the Gentiles shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for no other reason than that they held the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To these Fathers Christ gives His testimony, not as though they had been converted after death, or had received justification after His passion.
Catena Aurea Matthew 8