Lord, I am Not Worthy

centurion (1)

Cornelius, was a centurion, or captain of Roman soldiers, who lived in Capharnaum.  Although he had many servants, he loved one of them, Amon, as if he were a member of his own family.  Ever since Cornelius had been a very little boy, Amon had served him faithfully, both in the wars and at home.

Now Amon lay desperately ill. In fact, although Cornelius had called in the very best doctors, the old servant seemed about to die.

Then, just when all hope had been given up, Cornelius heard that Jesus of Nazareth was in Capharnaum!

Cornelius had lived for many years among the Jews.  He like them and they like him; but most of all he liked their religion.  He had great respect for its purity, and felt it to be vastly superior to the paganism of his native land, Rome.  Because of this admiration for the Jewish religion, he had built for the Jews a beautiful synagogue in Capharnaum.

But a new and wonderful experience had come to Cornelius: a few months ago, he had seen Jesus of Nazareth and had heard Him preach.  Since that time, the centurion had listened eagerly to everything he could learn about this new Teacher.  By studying Jewish history, Cornelius had learned about God’s promise of a Messias–a Saviour Who would redeem mankind.  Pondering deeply over the things he learned about Jesus, Cornelius had become convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was this Saviour.

It was with great joy, therefore, that while Amon lay dying, Cornelius learned that Jesus was in Capharnaum.  Feeling that he was centurionunworthy to approach the Lord himself, he went quickly to the Jewish elders and begged them to ask Him to come and heal Amon.  The  elders, glad to do a favor for the centurion, set out immediately.

They had not been gone long, however, when Cornelius began to fear that he had perhaps asked too great a favor in requesting that Jesus come to his house. “After all,” he told himself, “I am a Gentile; I am not one of the Chosen People.”

Hastily, then, Cornelius asked some of his Jewish friends to bring a second message.  “Say these words to Jesus,” he entreated them; “say, Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof; I am not even worthy to come to You myself.  I know that it is not necessary for You to come to my house to heal my servant; You need only say the word and it will be done.  Just as I have power to tell my servants and my soldiers to come or go, and they obey me, so You need only to speak and Your will is obeyed.'”

The second messengers reached Jesus just after the elders had delivered their request, and He had already started toward Cornelius’ home.  The newcomers repeated their message to Jesus exactly as they had been told to do.

When Jesus heard the centurion’s words, His Sacred Heart was glad.  The centurion had true faith and true humility–the two things which please Our Lord the most.  It was to teach faith and humility that He had come to this earth, and had worked all His miracles.  Yet how few of the Jews, His own Chosen People, believed in Him!

“This Gentile has greater faith than I have found among the Israelites,” He said to His followers.  And at that very instant, in the home of Cornelius, Amon was restored to health.jesus and the centurion 2

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