If you've cared for a loved one who has been ill, or even witnessed from afar another's deep suffering, you know the sorrow of the centurion in today's Gospel reading, Matthew 8:5-13. This man must have had authority over dozens of men, yet he couldn't ease the suffering of just one member of his servant family.
We've each been present for so many of these moments in the past months—some in our very own homes and communities, and others in states and countries far away from us. In the face of such sorrow it's quite easy to feel distressed, quite easy to feel powerless.
Being a witness to another's suffering is its own form of suffering, I think.
Perhaps that's why the centurion so captures my heart today. He knew he was powerless to heal his servant. He knew there was only One Who could bring wholeness back to his community. He sought out the Lord and, in the simplest of terms, said:
"I can't fix this . . . please help me."
His utterance of faith form my most favorite words of the Mass in our prayer before Communion: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof; only say the word and my soul shall be healed" (based on Matthew 8:8).
I encourage you to remember the centurion's story. Take to heart that he, too, felt distress over the suffering of those whom he loved. He, too, found courage in the truth that there is no wound that our Lord cannot heal. Take a moment to pray with his words that those in our homes, communities, and countries far, far away might find the Lord's complete healing.