When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean." He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I do choose. Be made clean!" Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress." And he said to him, "I will come and cure him." The centurion answered, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and the slave does it."
When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, "Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; let it be done for you according to your faith." And the servant was healed in that hour.
When Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases." Matthew 8:1-17
I have a letter that my mother wrote me several summers ago while we were in Alaska. I thought I had left it at home in my desk but I discovered it in my purse while digging for something. It seems to follow me. In this season of grief it reminds me of the many people she prayed for and how she believed in the power of healing. She knew God chose to heal her. Even in her last days, paralyzed and bedridden, she believed. And her last days she was ready to go home, so, so ready, for her the ultimate healing. The letter I carry with me reminds me, in the midst of my loss, to hold on firmly to her faith.
The stories that we find in the Gospel today are on the healing of many and the amazing moments in Jesus' ministry. He chose to make people well, and God chooses, even now, to bring us healing and wholeness. We are reminded today, that in the midst of our suffering God is saying to us," I do choose, I always choose, out of love for you."
Today I ask God to increase my faith. May we have the faith of our mothers, fathers and the centurion, who knew that from afar, the incarnate God would bless him. May we live awaiting transformation and healing in every moment.