SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH (MEMORIAL)
I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
This is a story about great faith. But it’s also about relating to other people, and to God, with humility. Consider the relationship between the Roman centurion and his servant. Because of their differences in status and power, it would have been easy for the centurion to treat his servant with indifference, even contempt. But it appears that he cared about this man and saw him as a fellow human being deserving of respect and compassion. It takes humility to do that, and this soldier seems to have had it.
Then there is the relationship between the Jewish elders and the centurion. The Jews resented most of their Roman occupiers, and relations between the two groups were often tense. But here, the Jews describe the centurion kindly, as a good man who even had a synagogue built for them. The centurion’s attention toward the people’s needs was probably unusual for the time—as unusual as the Jews’ humble respect for him.
Finally, there is the humility that the centurion shows toward Jesus. We see in his message that he understood the importance of submitting to authority. Without ever having met Jesus, he somehow grasped that the heavenly authority and power of this unassuming preacher far surpassed his own earthly influence.
We tend to think of humility as something positive but not particularly fun, like eating a bland salad just because it’s good for us. But the centurion’s life shows us how humility can make our relationships rich, full, and pleasing to the Lord.
Instead of focusing inward, on his own importance, the centurion focused outward. He reached out to help the people around him, even those of a different social status and background. And as a result, he won the respect of people who should have called him their enemy. His humble approach toward Jesus was also so genuine that Jesus was “amazed” at his faith and healed his servant on the spot (Luke 7:9). It’s a lesson that when we incorporate humility into our love for God and neighbor, we too will reap blessings.
“Jesus, help me to love with humility. May I never judge other people as less important than myself.”
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Psalm 28:2, 7-9
WORD AMONG US