01 July 2006

The Centurion's Sentiment

There has been a great amount of press concerning the proposed changes and adaptations to the Sacramentary, most notably where the responses of the assembly may be different. Today's Gospel gives us a gentle encouragement to be open to these minor (suggested) changes in translation (still pending approval for the proper parts), most of which favor a more accurate translation of the original Latin text.

When the priest elevates the host and says, "This is the Lamb of God, this is He who takes away the sins of the world . . ." our response, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed" is a very lose translation of what appears in the original text. In fact, the original text was intended to echo the sentiments -- if not the exact words -- of the centurion in today's Gospel: "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed."

To think of inviting the Lord "under our roof" is to entertain a powerful image. The Lord is eager to proceed to the house of the centurion to heal his servant but the centurion speaks a word of reluctance; he begs the Lord only to say a healing word for his servant. And it is his faith in the power of Jesus that permits his servant to be healed. We, too, are called to manifest the same faith in the Lord as we approach him in the Eucharist. We ask for his grace to heal our souls so that we may prepare a worthy place for him in our hearts as we receive him in the Eucharist and carry him with us in all we do.

"If, through Holy Communion, you become gentle, you will be drawing from it, the fruit which is proper to it, and thus you will be advancing." St. Francis de Sales

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