Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Sketch by Brie Schulze

The centurion always makes me stop to consider how immense Jesus’ mercy is.  What boundless compassion He has for those who suffer.  This man, this centurion, commands a hundred men, leads them and directs them.  When he comes before Jesus he is so humbled, he simply admits that he is unworthy.  This should strike us as somewhat strange because he is not an ordinary man, he is not a follower, he is not someone who just goes with the flow.  Most of us, if we are honest, would be in agreement with this centurion – we are not worthy for Jesus to visit our house.  However the difference is that this centurion is of higher standing than most of us.  Even the mighty and those of high estate in this world must recognize their lowliness and humble themselves before the Lord.

The centurion may surprise us with his simplicity and humility.  Saint Augustine suggests that the reason for this is that his heart was already open and welcomed Jesus.  Having made space for Jesus in his heart he was completely blown away, his life was transformed.  He understood that the Great God of all did not need to come to his house.  The Great God had already passed through and touched his heart – he understood how much he was loved in his smallness, even if the world held him in esteem.  If Caesar himself had offered to come visit his ailing servant he would not have reacted in the same way.  To have a great and important person visit you, or help you, that is an honor.  To have God Himself tenderly place His hands on someone you care about is humbling.  The more Jesus enters our hearts, the more we understand we are unworthy, the more we are humbled to witness His passage through our lives.


For in sacred language, teachers are sometimes called prophets, in that, by pointing out how fleeting present things are, they point out the things that are to come. And these are the ones the divine discourse convinces of seeing false things, because, while fearing to reprove faults, they vainly flatter evildoers by promising security; neither do they discover the iniquity of sinners, since they refrain their voice from chiding. For the language of reproof is the key of discovery, because by chiding it discloses the fault of which even he who has committed it is often himself unaware.1


If righteousness and truth terrify him, mercy and peace may encourage him to seek salvation.2

[…]weep rather for those who by reason of their crimes and sins go away from the church and who, suffering condemnation for their faults, shall no more return to it. It is in this sense that the prophet speaks to ministers of the church, calling them its walls and towers and saying to each in turn, “O wall, let tears run down.” In this way, it is prophetically implied, you will fulfill the apostolic precept: “Rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with them that weep.” By your tears you will melt the hard hearts of sinners until they too weep.3



  1. PASTORAL RULE 2.4.  Wenthe, D. O. (Ed.). (2009). Jeremiah, Lamentations (p. 282). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. LETTER 122.3.  Wenthe, D. O. (Ed.). (2009). Jeremiah, Lamentations (p. 282). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. Wenthe, D. O. (Ed.). (2009). Jeremiah, Lamentations (p. 283). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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