The reading of today (Old Rite) was the extremely well-known passage with the Centurion humbly asking Jesus to cure his gravely ill servant.
We can read this in many ways, and these famous words have taken an extremely important place in the (particularly traditional; the New Mess has tampered with this as with almost everything else) Mass to signify the respect and awe, the sense of full inadequacy and conscience of our sinfulness with which we approach the Eucharist. I don’t need to tell you how specially important this message is in the troubled times we are living.
However, I would like to direct your attention on another aspect of this beautiful episode.
The Centurion is – as Centurions always were – very smart, though this one was also clearly touched by a special grace. When he sees The Real Deal, this smart guy recognises Him. There are no hesitations, no doubts, no traces of any wavering whatsoever. His faith is so big, that he does not even require from Our Lord the act – which would have been criticised by his enemies, and was not seen as essential anyway – to enter the roof of a heathen. Faith does not need physical proximity.
The Centurion is smart and, through God’s grace, he “gets it all”. His unwavering faith is the more notable to us, because it comes from a man belonging to a professional category to whom a first-class brain was universally recognised.
I love these faith stories in the Gospel. The men and women who were their protagonists did not allow any of the slanders around Jesus to distract them. They knew.
Whenever I read of them, I think of the many who, today, could take an example from them. Those who shiver and shudder, fluctuate and wobble, double and distrust, simply because we have a horrible Pope.
I get a shiver down my spine whenever I read someone saying that Francis makes him doubt his faith. This is Satan on full-scale attack, right within them.
If the Church is a fraud, Jesus is a fraud. Jesus is not a fraud, so neither is the Church.
You can’t question the Church as the Bride without questioning Jesus as the Bridegroom. The visible, earthly Church can disconcert you with the level of corruption, stupidity or even heresy men inside her have always been able to exhibit. But in all this – both in the historical Church and in the present one – we know that under the more or less numerous, and more or less thick strata of mud which have all too often been found a strong, indestructible layer of Divine Granite has always been, and will always be there.
Like the Centurion, we recognise the Bridegroom. And when we recognise the Bridegroom, we recognise the Bride, because the one cannot be accepted without accepting the other.
I understand that Francis’ satanical work is enough to make people wonder what the heck is happening. But doubt is not the answer.
God’s will is what is happening. Providence is what is happening. Our salvation, day by day, is what is – hopefully – happening.
Don’t shiver, don’t waiver, don’t doubt.
Be a modern Centurion.