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Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time.  The reading is from Gospel of Matthew 8:5-13.

The Healing of a Centurion’s Servant – Matthew 8:5-13

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”

He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”

The centurion said in reply,

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;  only say the word and my servant will be healed.

For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me.

And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,

“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.

I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven,

but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

And Jesus said to the centurion,

“You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.”

And at that very hour [his] servant was healed.

This story of “The Healing of a Centurion’s Servant” comes from Q source and is also found in Luke.

The Healing of a Centurion’s Slave – Luke 7:1-10

When he had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum.

A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him.

When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave.

They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”

And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him,

“Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed.

For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”

When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

The centurion mentioned in this story is a Roman military officer commanding a hundred men. He was probably in the service of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee.

Acquainted by his position with the force of a command, the centurion expresses faith in the power of Jesus’ mere word.

  • The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (Matthew 8:8-9)

The phrase “in no one in Israel” in

  • When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. (Matthew 8:10)

is good textual attestation (e.g., Codex Sinaiticus) for a reading identical with that of

  • When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” (Luke 7:9)

But that seems to be due to a harmonization of Matthew with Luke.

Matthew inserts into the story a Q saying.

  • “I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (Matthew 8:11-12)

This is about the entrance of Gentiles into the kingdom and the exclusion of those Israelites who, though descended from the patriarchs and members of the chosen nation (the children of the kingdom), refused to believe in Jesus.

The phrase “where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth” is the first occurrence of a phrase used frequently in this gospel to describe final condemnation.

  • “They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (Matthew 13:42)
  • and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (Matthew 13:50)
  • “Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ “ (Matthew 22:13)
  • “and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (Matthew 24:51)
  • “And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:30)

Elsewhere in the New Testament it is found only in Luke.

  • “And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.” (Luke 13:28)

This story of healing has a parallel in the gospel of John also; but in this case it is the story of Jesus curing the son of a royal official.

The Healing of a Royal Official’s Son – John 4:46–54

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.

When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death.

Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”

The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”

The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.

While he was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.

He asked them when he began to recover. They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.”

The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe.

[Now] this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea

The similarity between the Q story and the Johannine account is due to a common oral tradition, not to a common literary source. As in the later story of the daughter of the Canaanite woman (Matthew15:21–28) Jesus here breaks with his usual procedure of ministering only to Israelites and anticipates the mission to the Gentiles.

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