"Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.” - Matt. 8:8
These words from today’s Gospel are part of our weekly vocabulary. Every time we go to Mass we repeat the words of the Centurion to Christ as the priest elevates the Eucharist so that we might behold Christ before our own reception of Him. But perhaps, on this first Monday of Advent, these words “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof” are an apt description of our hearts in relation to Christmas.
This entire first week of Advent we are uniquely devoting ourselves to the preparation of everything we are for the coming of the Christ child in the manger. Our first reading from Isaiah teaches us that in preparation for living in the light of the Lord all of the nations shall, “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” In both of these passages there is a call to peace of heart and mind. For the Israelites we hear a call to peace amongst themselves and their neighbors in the midst of warring. From the Centurion we hear a crying out for peace to Christ in the healing of his servant.
And so in this week, as we focus on our own preparation for Christmas, I encourage you to give special emphasis to a pursuit of peace in your own lives. Ask yourself what it is that causes you to say “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.” Look at the causes of turmoil in your life whether that be a relationship, financial or job worries, school work, or anything else. And then, ask yourself how are you going to beat those swords into plowshares so that there might begin to be peace in your life. Finally, to the Lord, ask “only say the word and thy servant shall be healed.” Let us enter into this Advent season with hearts filled with peace so that we might be able to welcome the newly born Jesus into our lives at Christmas.
Let us Pray,
Loving Father, we ask you to bring peace into our lives. In a world filled with so much noise and so many stressors, we must rely on your aid for peace. Prepare us for the coming of your Son at Christmas as we joyfully anticipate His arrival. May we your people be blessed enough to let go of all that holds us back from you and others so that through us you might bring this peace that we are asking for through your son, Jesus, Amen.
This reflection was written by Kevin Effron
Kevin Effron is a first year Master of Divinity student at the University of Notre Dame. He is working at Verso Ministries this year as his ministry placement for his M.Div. and is the proud creator and organizer of Prepare the Way. Kevin hopes that you find this retreat as fruitful to meditate upon as he did while helping to put it all together.