This blog follows the daily bible readings of the Catholic Church
Reading 1, Isaiah 4:2-6
2 That day, The Lord’s seedling will turn to beauty and glory; what the earth brings forth will turn to the pride and ornament of Israel’s survivors.
3 Those who are left in Zion and remain in Jerusalem will be called holy, all those in Jerusalem noted down to live.
4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of Zion’s daughters and with the wind of judgement and the wind of burning cleansed Jerusalem of the blood shed in her, 5 He will create, over every house on Mount Zion and over those who assemble there, a cloud by day, and by night smoke with the brightness of a flaring fire. For over all will be the Glory as canopy 6 and tent to give shade by day from the heat, refuge and shelter from the storm and the rain.
The cloud by day and the fire by night were included in the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, but here Isaiah gives them a more domestic sense: these signs of God’s presence will be shade and shelter. After the fire of judgment has swept through the rebellious people, God’s tenderness will be evident in the way he looks after the survivors, just as he is depicted as clothing Adam and Eve as they are expelled from the garden. People bring disaster on themselves by their evil, but God already provides care that looks to the future.
Gospel, Matthew 8:5-11
5 When he went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. 6 ‘Sir,’ he said, ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed and in great pain.’
7 Jesus said to him, ‘I will come myself and cure him.’
8 The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. 9 For I am under authority myself and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man, “Go,” and he goes; to another, “Come here,” and he comes; to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’
10 When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘In truth I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found faith as great as this. 11 And I tell you that many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of Heaven.
The centurion’s great faith does not consist in his conviction that Jesus HAS authority, but in his insight that Jesus is UNDER authority: his capacity to heal comes from God; God’s imperial authority is exercised THROUGH Jesus.
The centurion has this insight because he knows his military authority is not his own.
Jesus’ praise of the centurion’s faith reminds us of his generous recognition of the faith of others. “Your faith has made you whole,” he tells them.
The doctrine of the Trinity insists that the Son is not subordinate to the Father in his nature. This story shows us that he subordinates himself at all times to the Father’s will, so that God’s will may be done on the earth.