May 29, 2016
We welcomed our friend Fr. Frank Baltz as guest celebrant and priest on Sunday while Mo. Mary and Steve are away on vacation. Fr. Frank’s message was centered in the gospel story from Luke 7: 1–10 about Jesus healing the valued servant of the Roman Centurion.
Fr. Frank began his message with a discussion of “nodal events” – defined as an event in the life of a person, family, or community that raises anxiety. Examples of such events can be the obvious such as death of a loved one, illness, or trauma but can also include such celebratory events as a wedding, birth of a child, or a graduate leaving home for the first time. The Centurion in the gospel story was experiencing such an event when his valued servant lay ill and near death.
The local Jewish community knew this pagan military leader and his servants as he was in the least friendly and loving towards them (he and his servants had built the local synagogue) and even possibly at best, although it is not stated in the scripture, a believer in their theology and Jesus as Messiah. As the valued servant lay dying, the Centurion sent for Jesus through the Jewish elders who appealed to him to help. As the Centurion humbled himself before Jesus, saying he was not worthy to have the Messiah come under his roof, Jesus used the moment to exhibit the meaning of faith to his followers. As he restored the servant to health, he says to his followers, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” The Centurion is rewarded for his faith in Jesus through this nodal event in his life.
We are called by God to have faith, the substance of things hoped for and the certainty of things unseen. Fr. Frank’s primary takeaways from today’s gospel lesson are - the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ is available to all; our faith sustains us in the nodal events of our lives; we are to strive to bring others to the saving mercy and grace of God and belief in Jesus Christ as savior and redeemer.
Just as the Centurion did, we are to invite Jesus into the nodal events of our lives to keep us grounded in the knowledge and assurance of the love and peace of Christ.
Respectfully Submitted by Mal Underwood