Monday of the First Week in Advent
(Isaiah 4:2-6; Matthew 8:5-11)
Ask any professional about how to do a fund-raising campaign. She will tell you that personal appeal is all important. You have to ask people – face-to-face if at all possible – for money if you expect to reach your goal. The rule is, “If you do not ask for something, you will get nothing.
The centurion in the gospel today seems instinctively aware of the fundraising rule. Very directly he seeks Jesus’ help. What’s more remarkable here, however, is his faith in Jesus as Lord. He does not ask Jesus to come and treat his servant but only to give the order that the servant be healed. Only God with angels at His service would be able to effect a cure from a distance.
As the beginning of Advent, we are being called to imitate this centurion. First, we should not hesitate a moment to call upon Jesus with our needs – preferably person-to-person in the Eucharist. Maybe we seek the healing of someone like the centurion in the gospel or, perhaps, assistance in overcoming a personal challenge. Then we are to put complete faith in him. This does not mean that we expect an answer to our prayers explicitly as requested but that we know that he will take care of our need.