12 Sept, Monday of Week 24
1 Tim 2:1ff. Prayers for the civil authorities that life may be peaceful, since God desires the good of all.
Lk 7:1ff. The Roman centurion has greater faith than all Israel and receives from Jesus the cure of his servant.
All are Called to Salvation
Different sides of the Church’s mission are seen in today’s texts. While First Timothy proclaims the Gospel’s outreach to the world, the Roman centurion in Luke 7 shows how well prepared the world can be, to return to Gospel values. The mission statements in First Timothy are clear and engaging: God wants all to be saved and to know the truth; Jesus gave himself as ransom for all; and Paul has a mission to all nations.
Since God wants the salvation of all, we must conclude that the bulk of the human race are being saved without explicit acceptance of the Gospel. Much less than fifty percent of the world’s population is Christian. Therefore the preaching of the Gospel does not make the difference between heaven and hell for an individual; rather the difference is between the joy and strength of knowing Jesus and the difficulty and unclarity of living without his clear guidance. Paul prays not only that all may be saved but that they also “come to know the truth.” Truth sets free and envigorates, it brings greater peace and self-respect. The truth, according to Paul, consists in this: since God is one, all his children form one human family. The mediator between God and ourselves, is also one, the man Christ Jesus.
In the Gospel the new person, a Gentile centurion, shows up with even stronger faith than existed in Israel. If we transfer this into our contemporary era, the faith of a Buddhist or of Islam can take a Christian by surprise. The Roman centurion shows an alertness, a concern, a direct simplicity and a graciousness towards the distress of his servant. He sends to Jesus for help, even though he risked refusa as a member of the hated military presence of Rome. He also shows courtesy towards Jesus, “Sir, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter my house.” Open and honest, he does not beat around the bush and is not afraid to publicly admit his confidence in Jesus, and courteously sends a delegation of Jewish elders to intercede for him and his slave. These natural virtues served to create a distinguished public servant and portray him as a consummate diplomat. Jesus praises the faith of this foreigner.
First Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-8
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all – this was attested at the right time. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.
Gospel: Gospel: Luke 7:1-10
After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.”
Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set 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 the slave does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.