Pentecost 2 :: Faith in action

“He is worthy of having you do this for him…”

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Sunset on Iona

Of course he is!

In St. Luke’s Gospel, some Jewish authorities have approached Jesus with a plea to go and heal the slave of a Roman Centurion. Now this is a rather odd thing for them to do. Even odder is what they say to Jesus: “He is worthy of having you do this for him.” You see, Roman Centurions were the bad guys. They were the ones who maintained order in the quasi-police state of Israel. Theirs was an occupied country. And the Centurions—feared soldiers of Imperial Rome—were the ones who made sure that the residents were kept in line. And even though this particular Roman “peacekeeper” helped to build a synagogue for the local community, to view him and others like him as worthy of anything but contempt would’ve been something of a stretch.

Of course Jesus—especially Luke’s Jesus, the great benefactor of all—would have viewed this man, this normally despised soldier, as infinitely worthy of aid. For Jesus saw everyone as worthy. There is no need to tell Jesus of the worthiness of anyone, for the Most-Worthy-One became human that all may be made worthy. Jesus doesn’t make distinctions between people. He doesn’t divide people into camps of merit or privilege. He is partial towards none precisely because he is partial towards everyone.

It is humanity, the Ones-Made-Worthy, who still insist on division. The really odd thing in all of this is that we haven’t learned otherwise.

[A quick note: I will be away for several weeks and will not be updating my blog. Be sure to stay tuned, though. I’ll be back in July!]

RCL Lectionary for Proper 4, Year C

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