Wednesday, May 25, 2016

e-vo for week of May 25

Dearest e-votees,

Jesus is in Capernaum, Peter's hometown. There is a modern church there built up over the ruins of Peter's mother-in-law's house (remember when Jesus healed her fever?) Peter is thought to have lived in those ruins too. Jesus, also, is thought to have lived in those ruins as well. Nearby there is a synagogue. You can walk around on floors that date back to the time of Jesus. The walls are rebuilt around 2nd century or so. His first public ministry act was in the synagogue in Nazareth where he quoted Isaiah and said that he was the fulfillment of that prophecy. Jesus then goes to the synagogue in Capernaum. In Luke 4:31-37 Jesus is teaching in that synagogue and he drives out a demon. Jesus is demonstrating his authority in several ways in these accounts.

This week's healing of the centurion's slave continues to evidence the authority Jesus commanded.



1 After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. 3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. 4 When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, 5 for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.” 6 And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; 7 therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” 9 When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

Luke 7:1-10, NRSV

Jesus is approached by Jewish elders. These elders were sent by a centurion, a Roman military official. They ask on behalf of the centurion that Jesus would come and heal this highly valued slave. In trying to assure a "yes" from Jesus they tell him that this centurion built the synagogue. The very synagogue that Jesus was in in Luke 4 casting out demons. They told Jesus that he was deserving because of his love for the Jewish people.

Jesus is approached by friends of the centurion. They were sent by him to tell Jesus not come under his roof. He says that he is not worthy. He says that Jesus only needs to speak the word for the slave to be healed. He bolsters this approach with an appeal to his practice and understanding of authority as a Roman soldier.

Jesus is amazed by his faith and grants the healing.

In 2011, the Roman Catholic Mass was altered as explained below: (source: Will Catholic Mass changes cause mass confusion?)

One example of that shift is in a line familiar to Catholics at the height of the Mass, just before Communion. “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed,” Catholics have said for decades. This weekend, those words change to, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

(thanks to Rev. Leah Stolte-Doerfler for reminding our text study of this response as part of the Mass)

This response is a liturgical way to acknowledge that we aren't worthy to receive Jesus (under our roof, in our lives, in our mouths, in our ears, in our world...) but that if Jesus would speak to us (under our roofs, in our lives, in our mouths, in our ears, in our world...) that it brings healing to our souls. We are in need of Jesus. He comes reliably in Word (in our ears) and Sacrament (in our mouths, on our skin). These encounters with God bring healing to our souls. Jesus abides in our homes, sends us and meets us out in the world and calls and equips us to live out our vocations. When we have ears to hear we find healing for our souls.

The truth is we are unworthy of God. We have no rights or abilities to order God around. But God, out of love, comes into the world bringing healing. This healing is for us and this healing is for all. As we live into our baptisms and are sustained at the table and through the word we are healed and equipped to be healing agents in the world. Death, sin and the devil fall under Jesus' authority and they are driven out. We are sent and commissioned under Jesus' authority and are sent out. We are blessed to hear Jesus and all his sayings in the hearing of the people. Healing abounds.

God, give us faith. Help us receive your help without deluding ourselves into thinking we can cajole it from you. Help us come to a place of healing. Stir us to give you glory. Amen.

No comments: