Mt 8: 5-11 At A Crossroads
The Lord had just been approached by a leper. Today, we read that a centurion approached him too. Help (regardless of where it comes from), is always much appreciated. Even a centurion, a soldier, will bow down and pay homage to the Lord. It’s never too late to reach out to Christ. That is, it’s never too late for those who have turned their back on the Lord to turn to the Lord.
We also learn today that a request, regardless of where it comes from, is never unanswered by God. “The Lord never forgets the souls of those who are poor” (Ps 74). The Lord loves to love. A little faith is all that is needed. “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed…”
Much of our distress, anxieties and frustrations occur because we turn to the Lord as our last and not best hope. He is not our last resort. He is our lasting hope!We should not put the Lord to the test. During the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana, the Governor finally turned to prayer because “It appears as though there is no human solution to this spill!” Well, the last shall be first! This is true with God, this is true with man. I find it amusing and so assuring to see how man is truly made in the image and likeness of God. Are we not slow in asking our parents for advice?
This centurion ventured to ask the Lord for help because he had tried other avenues to cure his servant and all failed, so he had to take a leap of faith. He knew his reputation would be at risk – the scorn of his fellow soldiers was a real possibility – his career could be placed on hold. Regardless of all this, the man took a leap of faith and discovered the real presence of God! He took a chance, approached the Lord and appealed to Him.
“No one in Israel has shown such faith.” The response from the Lord is remarkable; he knows the hearts of men! He knows everything! He knew the risk that was being taken. He appreciated it. Faith requires trust - the greater the trust is, the greater the faith is. How do we know that God is real? From the heart! This is how we know our friend is our best friend. This is why a teacher will never know their student as well as a mother and father know their child. They know us by heart. In no one have I found such faith, such trust; such a heart.
During this first week of Advent I want to ask you to be an observer. Examine the lives of those who live their faith and those who do not believe. Judge for yourself but do not judge them; just observe them. Look and see what it means to live with God or to live away from Him; to seek him out or to look the other way; to take a leap of faith or to plunge in the great darkness. I have come to realize that my greatest knowledge of God comes from the heart. This is how I have learned to know myself and to know others well. This is how I can best know the Lord and the Lord can know me. The Lord goes straight for the heart and to the heart of the matter.
Advent is a time of great awakening! To see with my inner eye (the heart) and to perceive that which goes beyond sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. Advent is a time of great anticipation. I want you to see for yourself the choices that are out there: Life on high in Christ Jesus, or life on hold. What will it be for you?