Monday of the First Week
The response of the Centurion in today’s Gospel is one that we know well. When Jesus offers to come and cure his servant, the Centurion replies with this simple yet powerful statement: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter my roof.” These words, recited when we celebrate the Eucharist, are for me the greatest plea for mercy. In these words, I ask Christ to enter my life and heal me despite my faults and failures. In reciting this phrase, I am reminded of my imperfections in a way that is unlike any other time in my week. In a moment of genuine humility, I recognize that I am unworthy. In this moment, however, I also acknowledge the power of God’s love and acceptance - a glimmer of true peace.
Since graduating from USD, I have lived in New York City. Like many cities, New York requires a lot of patience because the city’s general sentiment is not typically linked with humility. On a daily basis I am quick to jump to judgment about those with whom I share the train or the sidewalk. I am so wrapped in my own worries and check lists, that it is easy to consider the world revolving around me. Despite spending the work week in a place that is explicit about its mission to serve the underprivileged, Cristo Rey New York High School, I am persistently reminded of the vastness of social justice, how much I still have to learn, and how never-ending this work may be. Each day presents a new set of challenges which require the recognition of my gifts, but also the areas in which I can grow.
Just like the Centurion, it is easy to imagine myself as unworthy of God’s love. I know I am impatient, selfish, flawed. But I also recognize in myself kindness, altruism, and the ability to bring others joy. As Sister Helen Prejean puts it, “we are all worth more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” This is what makes the Centurion’s words so powerful, we are asking God to maximize the good in us. The good that we know exists but do not necessarily act upon in each moment.
As we wait for peace this Advent season, may we consider the ways in which we can become more like the Centurion. May we thank God for our strengths but practice humility as we welcome Christ into our lives and under our roofs.
-Yasi Mahallaty '13, Director of Graduate Support, Cristo Rey New York High School