Monday, June 18, 2018
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a Roman military officer came to Him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” – Matthew 8:5,6
A Roman military officer there in Galilee to enforce the Roman occupation of that land comes to a Galilean rabbi asking for help. I find that rather unexpected, but then again, on several occasions certain Roman officers were viewed positive light.
Here we experience a Roman military officer who has compassion on his servant. Not a man wielding an intimidating sword or demanding that this Galilean obey his orders… but a compassionate man respectfully, rather humbly, asking Christ for a measure of healing mercy. In the end, the military officer’s request is granted and Christ affirms him as a man of great faith. Later, other soldiers would brutally whip this rabbi, mock this rabbi, drive nails into his hands, all the while obeying orders. But this one soldier acted in response to a greater command … to alleviate the suffering of a commoner, a servant.
The Christian has always struggled, or at least, those who are sensitive in spirit, with the tension between obedience to man’s law and obedience to the conscience of God. Sometimes law and conscience coincide or at least tolerably coincide, but at other times, they cannot be reconciled, the demands of human law and the demands of a conscience Divinely graced.
Sometimes in human history and it has been often when Christian were called to be faithful to conscience, that Divinely graced conscience and were made martyrs by their lack of “patriotism, one defined in terms of law-and-order”.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz