September 18, 2023 –
Monday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
With few exceptions, the translation of the Mass introduced in 2011 has been hailed by bishops, scholars and folk in the pews for its advances over the hurried translation made soon after Vatican II. One of the key improvements in the translation is its greater fidelity to Sacred Scripture. Today’s Gospel passage offers an example.
The centurion sends the message: “Lord… I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. … but say the word and let my servant be healed.” This very clearly is the origin for the invocation that each Catholic makes to Jesus shortly before Holy Communion. Such clarity impels us today to reflect deeply on the context of these words, so that our invocation before Holy Communion is more meaningful each time we offer it.
Here, consider just one point of context. While we might focus on the humility of the centurion, reflect by contrast on the power of the Lord. The Lord’s power is such that physical proximity to the sick person is not necessary. The Lord needs only to “say the word”. This power evokes awe in the communicant because while in today’s Gospel passage Jesus did choose to heal from a distance, at Holy Mass Jesus deigns to enter into our very person, both body and soul. This intimate indwelling is a mystery for which we cannot possibly finish giving thanks.