Let sorrow speak – Monday, First week of Advent – Isaiah 4:2-6/ Matthew 8:5-11
I want to encourage you to jump right into this spiritual season of Advent. I fully get the excitement of Christmas which surely must have got hold of you by now; I understand that completely as I too am a ‘Christmas junkie.’ But there is something beautiful that this season of Advent offers us; a meditation on the need to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord.
We begin our reflection this advent season with a rank outsider whom Jesus praises as a model of faith. Why, we wonder is a rank outsider chosen as a model of faith? Do we not have a better example from ‘among us’ to be presented as a model of faith?
Here is a centurion, a gentile, a pagan, an oppressor of the Jewish nation, an enemy; the list could go on. Yet the season of advent kickstarts with a Roman centurion. Ironically, it was he who took the initiative to reach out to Jesus. He came to Jesus! Think about it; right now, you may feel like a rank outsider with regard to your faith. You may be a lapsed Catholic or a person whose sinful life has taken you to places you rather not mention. Think about it, a Roman centurion with men under his command took the first step to seek Christ; how difficult could it be for you and me?
Scripture tells us that the centurion came “appealing;” he was desperate, perhaps out of oxygen, his life being sucked out as he was gasping for breath, not knowing what to do, where to go. Yet the Gospel tells us that he knew whom to go to. He had heard of Jesus. But here lies the twist, he did not come for something he needed, he came for someone he loved. His servant, we are told was paralyzed and was distressed. He could not bear to see the one he loved suffer and so he let his sorrow speak to the Lord.