HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[Mat. 8:1–13. Mark 1:40–45. Luke 5:12–15 and 7:1–10]

AS Jesus descended from the mountain, a leper came, who, falling down, adored Him, saying: “Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean!” Jesus, stretching forth His hand touched him, saying: “I will; be thou made clean.” And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus spoke to him: “See thou tell no man; but go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded as a testimony to them.”

After this, Jesus returned to Capharnaum. In this city there lived a centurion, a Roman, who was friendly to the Jews, and had built them a synagogue. Now the servant of this man was sick and grievously tormented. The centurion, therefore, knowing that Jesus had come back to Capharnaum, besought some of the Jewish elders to go and ask our Lord to come and cure his servant.

Jesus went with them. But when the centurion saw our Lord coming with the ancients, he said: “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers, and I say to this: Go, and he goeth, and to another: Come, and he cometh, and to my servant: Do this, and he doeth it.” Hearing this, Jesus wondered much, and turning to the multitude that followed Him, said: “Amen, I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say unto you that many shall come from the East and the West, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into exterior darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then He said to the centurion: “Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee.” And the servant was healed at the same hour.

The Divinity of our Lord was proved by two astounding miracles. The leper believed in our Lord’s Divinity. He did not say to Him: “Pray to God that I may be clean”, but he entreated Him as God, and, full of faith, said: “If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean”, i. e. it only depends on Thy will to cure me, for Thou canst do it, if Thou wilt. And Jesus confirmed his faith by saying: “I will: be thou clean.” Our Lord said: “I will!” to show that He could make the sick well by His mere will, or, in other words, that He was Omnipotent. He manifested the same Omnipotence by curing the centurion’s servant without even seeing him.

Our Lord’s prophecy about the extension of His Church is another proof of His Divinity. The heathen centurion believed, whereas the Pharisees and their many adherents would not believe. Our Lord made this the occasion of uttering the significant and striking prophecy that many heathens, all over the world, would believe in Him, becoming thereby the spiritual children of Abraham, and would possess the kingdom of heaven promised to him; whilst, on the other hand, the Israelites, the real descendants of Abraham, who were called into the kingdom of heaven before any one else, would not, as a body, believe and be saved, but would be lost by reason of their unbelief. This prophecy of the spread of His Church among the Gentiles has been completely fulfilled, and proves the Omniscience of our Lord.

The Goodness and Compassion of Jesus. Our Lord did not drive the leper from Him, but “had compassion on him” (Mark 1:41), and touched him who was counted as unclean. And now also, Jesus drives no sinner from Him, however foul and unclean he may be, if only he will believe and do penance. Our Lord was quite ready to go to visit and help the centurion’s sick servant; but in our case He condescends not merely to come into our house, but into our very hearts, in Holy Communion, so as to strengthen us, His feeble servants, and keep us in His grace.

The command of Jesus to submit to God’s priests. As Christ would not have cured the leper, if he had refused to show himself to the priest, so now no one obtains forgiveness of his sins, unless he reveals them to the priest in confession.

The virtues of the centurion:

1. Compassion. He had bought this slave with money, and had he died, he could easily have bought another, for he was very rich, or else he could not have built the Jews a synagogue. But he had a kind and compassionate heart, and he was full of pity for his slave, who was suffering such acute pain, and wished to do what he could to help him. His kindness of heart showed to great advantage beside the hardness of heart of the Scribes and Pharisees (Mat. 23:23). “Blessed are the merciful.”

2. Faith. The centurion’s compassion was the means of his receiving the gift of faith. His compassion made him seek for help from Jesus. He had heard of the miracles which our Lord had already worked, and, by God’s grace, what he heard engendered in his heart a firm belief that Jesus was the Messias whom the Jews expected, and that He was able, without even entering his house, to save his servant from certain death.

3. Humility. Faith made the centurion humble. The Jewish ancients said about him: “He is worthy that Thou shouldst help him”, but he himself said to Jesus: “Lord, I am not worthy” &c. He felt his sinfulness and nothingness acutely in the Presence of Jesus, the Holy and Almighty One, even as Peter felt it at the time of the miraculous draught of fish, when he said: “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Hell is styled exterior darkness by our Lord, because no ray of divine light or grace can penetrate there. There, says our Lord, is weeping, or wailing, on account of the horrible torment, and gnashing of teeth from despair at its everlasting duration.

Prayers for benefactors. The ancients of the city pleaded the cause of the centurion, because he had built for them a house of prayer. We ought to pray to God for our benefactors, especially for our parents, god-parents, pastors, and teachers.

The power of intercession. The centurion interceded for his servant, and the ancients prayed our Lord to grant the centurion’s petition. These prayers were not made in vain, for Jesus yielded to them, and cured the servant.

“Domine, non sum dignus”, “Lord, I am not worthy!” The priest says these words at Mass when he receives Holy Communion. He says them also when he administers Communion to the faithful.

Leprosy, a type of sin. Leprosy disfigured the body and made it hideous: mortal sin defaces the soul, which is the image of God, deprives it of sanctifying grace, and makes it foul and horrible in the eyes of God. Leprosy enfeebled the body and made it unfit for work: sin renders man incapable of performing meritorious works. Leprosy caused pain, fear and depression: sin destroys interior peace, creates remorse of conscience and fear of death and judgment. Leprosy was contagious, and, on this account, lepers were avoided by everybody; sin also is contagious, and we ought to avoid the company of sinners and criminals. The leper had to show himself to the priest, exposing to him his breast, face and arms, before he could be pronounced clean and restored to the society of the faithful: the sinner must go to the priest, as the representative of God, and discover to him by a sincere confession his sinful thoughts, words and actions, before he can receive absolution, and be restored to the company of the children of God.

APPLICATION. Have you always made a good confession? Have you a great horror of the leprosy of sin?








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com