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The good news for the day November 28, 2016

Monday of the First Week in Advent (175)

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a Roman officer approached him to appeal to him: “Sir, somebody in my house is lying at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The officer objected: “Sir, I am not good enough to have you enter under my roof. Just say the word—that person will be healed. Like you I am someone who lives with the exercise of authority, my soldiers responsible to me. I tell one of them, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another one, ‘Come here,’—he comes! To anybody who works for me, I say, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was surprised and remarked to those following him, “I am telling you the truth, in no one else in Israel have I found such faith. I am telling you, many people will come from the East and the West, and will dine with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the realm of what’s right.” (Matthew 8)

A miracle is always a surprise—and sometimes the faith that triggers a miracle IS the surprise. That is the case here. You and I may lack the faith that Jesus is going to come—healingly—into your house. Oh, yes, we have “faith” in a vague kind of way, a general belief in the presence of Jesus, a belief in His power to heal souls and minds, and a belief that “things can work out.” But a deepening of faith is what we need to keep looking for.

The faith of this foreigner, this occupying officer of the Roman Army, bypassed his own deeply rooted prejudices of superiority, of control by violence, of language and heritage—and of religion even! Almost certainly a devotee of Tiberius Caesar, to whom he owed adoration as a god, this individual saw past all of that with Faith. All else was irrelevant.

What was important was his need, hope, and caring. Faith did not mean his religious creed—but something else. It is what you and I reach for every day—a deepening commitment, courage and self-denial that comes to see the world as surprise—as God does—what really counts, what matters. The Good News? That inner faith—that Surprise—that comes within you.

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