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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Monday 1st of Advent

1st Reading (Isa 2:1-5): This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come, the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; many peoples shall come and say: «Come, let us climb the Lord's mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths». For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Responsorial Psalm: 121
R/. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me, «We will go up to the house of the Lord». And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord.

According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May those who love you prosper! May peace be within your walls, prosperity in your buildings.

Because of my relatives and friends I will say, «Peace be within you!». Because of the house of the Lord, our God, I will pray for your good.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Ps 79:4): Alleluia. Come and save us, Lord our God; let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 8,5-11): When Jesus entered Capernaum, an army captain approached him to ask his help, «Sir, my servant lies sick at home. He is paralyzed and suffers terribly». Jesus said to him, «I will come and heal him». The captain answered, «I am not worthy to have you under my roof. Just give an order and my boy will be healed. For I myself, a junior officer, give orders to my soldiers. And if I say to one: ‘Go’, he goes, and if I say to another: ‘Come’, he comes, and to my servant: ‘Do this’, he does it».

When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those who were following him, «I tell you, I have not found such faith in Israel. I say to you, many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven».

«I tell you, I have not found such faith in Israel»

Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García
(Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Capernaum is our city and our village, where there are sick people, some we know, others anonymous, often forgotten because of the hectic rhythm of life that we lead. Loaded with work, we rush about non-stop without thinking of those who, due to their illness or for whatever other circumstance, remain marginalised from the frenetic activity of our world. However, Jesus told us: «Truly, I say to you: whenever you did this to these little ones who are my brothers and sisters, you did it to me» (Mt 25:40). The great thinker Blaise Pascal follows this idea when he says that «in his believers, Jesus finds himself in the agony of Gethsemane until the end of time».

The centurion of Capernaum does not forget about his servant who is ill in bed, because he loves him. In spite of being more powerful and having more authority than his servant, the centurion is grateful to him because of all his years of help and appreciates him very much. Because of that, he approaches Jesus, and in the Saviour's presence, manages to make an extraordinary confession of faith, seen in the liturgy of the Eucharist: «I am not worthy to have you under my roof. Just give an order and my servant will be healed» (Mt 8:8). This confession is based on hope; it comes from the centurion's faith in the Lord and, at the same time, from his feeling of lack personal worthiness, which makes him aware of his own neediness.

We can only approach Jesus with a humble attitude, like that of the centurion. That way we can live the hope of Advent: the hope of salvation and life, of reconciliation and peace. Only he who acknowledges his poverty and realizes that the meaning of life is not to be found in himself, but in God, in turning his life over to Him, can really have hope. Let's approach Christ confidently, and, at the same time, make the centurion's prayer our own.