“Lord I am not worthy for you to enter under my roof” – we say this phrase that perhaps seems odd in its wording right before we take communion, but today we hear the Gospel from which it comes. The centurion is a governmental official in the town of Capernaum. He has great authority, yet it appears that he has great humility and restraint, so much so that Jesus praises him for his great faith. We can often be blind to the great examples of faith that we have in our midst. The centurion today shows us that not only do we need to come to God with our needs and requests, but we need to be able to listen to God as well.
Today, we celebrate two men who served in the Church in the 3rd century before the Church was officially recognized by the Roman Empire. It was a time of great persecution. Cornelius and Cyprian were good friends. Cornelius was elected pope at a time when the Church had to deal with the issue of reconciling Christians back to the Church who had denied their faith. You can imagine how much dissension this brought to the Church. With courage and steadfastness, Cornelius dealt with this issue, yet he died after being sent to exile. Cyprian at the time was the Bishop of the important African city of Carthage.
I think about how each time in history has its own challenges for Christians. Today, our Church is addressing secularism and what it means to live out our faith in the modern world. I don’t think there are going to be easy answers. But the Lord is asking us to live our faith boldly like the centurion in the Gospel, like Cornelius and Cyprian.