Only Say the Word, Lord!

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Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time


Matthew 8:5-17

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.

I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour his servant was healed. Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him. When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet: He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.


Opening Prayer: Dear Jesus, as I enter this time of prayer, I ask you to grant me a deeper and more ardent faith in you. For you, all things are possible; transform and heal the wounds of my heart. 

Encountering Christ:


  1. Approaching Jesus: “A centurion approached him and appealed to him.” Jesus is always approachable. The centurion wasn’t afraid to come to him and neither should we be. The incarnation teaches us just this lesson. God became man so that he could be more accessible, not distant. We are his children, not simply land-dwellers. As children, we have the privilege of coming to Jesus with whatever is on our heart. So why do we sometimes hesitate to bring him whatever is on our mind, on our heart, big or small? Does a child disguise his or her need for care, love, or affection? Nor should we.
  2. Timeless Words: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word…” By these words, the centurion revealed that he had faith in Jesus and that, despite his authority over others, he wasn’t presumptuous, but humble. He believed that Jesus could heal by saying only a word. He didn’t presume that he was worthy to have Jesus come to his home; he was a non-Jew. Jesus recognized these qualities in him: “In no one in Israel have I found such faith.” Do we have this kind of faith and humility when we talk to Jesus?
  3. The Power of Christ: “He drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick.” Jesus can work in the lives of those with faith and humility. When we surrender to him and get out of the way–as it were–he can do amazing things in our lives. More than just healing our physical ailments, Jesus wants to heal us spiritually because that’s where the greatest damage is all-too-often present. It is important that we open ourselves up to his complete healing, so that at his word we are free from all forms of bondage or addiction, and are made capable of loving and serving him in freedom. We all need to surrender aspects of our lives to Jesus. What holds us back today? 


Conversing with Christ: My Lord, more than anything, you want to restore me to perfect union with yourself. I want that too. Help me to put aside my pride and to open my heart fully to your healing touch so that I may experience the fullness of your love and divine friendship. 


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make a sincere act of faith, surrendering something very challenging for me.


For Further Reflection: Be Healed: A Guide to Encountering the Powerful Love of Jesus in Your Life by Bob Schuchts, Ave Maria Press. 


Father Todd Arsenault is from Prince Edward Island, Canada, and is a priest with the Legionaries of Christ. He spent fourteen years doing ministry in the greater Toronto area as a chaplain for Regnum Christi and couple’s groups, spiritual director, and retreat master. He is currently on a two-year sabbatical in Rome, studying for a licentiate in Spiritual Theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum.

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