Monday of the First Week of Advent
(Isaiah 4:2-6; Matthew 8:5-11)
The centurion in today’s gospel expresses Advent faith. Because he has evidently heard of Jesus’ power over disease, he does not require his presence to heal his servant. As a man of authority, he is confident that Jesus only has to command the healing for it to happen.
Some of us wait impatiently for Jesus to return. We wonder if we have misinterpreted his promise or, more darkly, if the gospels have misinformed us. We need to appropriate the centurion’s advent faith. We have seen evidence of Jesus’ power over evil – how things go right when we pray to him, how his words echo profound truth to the present day, and how his followers have shaped civilization in benign ways. We can accept Jesus at his word.
During Advent we renew our commitment to stay the course. Jesus may not arrive in flesh and bone this year, but he will continue to send signs of his coming. In the meantime we wait not so much patiently as actively. We want to prepare his way by promoting goodwill so that all will receive him.