Monday of the First Week

Readings

Is 2:1-5
Mt 8:5-11


Reflection

Is there an inherent goodness in humanity?  Are humanity’s efforts to lessen the sufferings of our world useless?  How big of a role do we, as individuals, contribute to the suffering of the world through our daily and banal sins?  In today’s gospel I hear Christ entering into this common struggle to have hope in humanity, which has felt especially salient this year, while also presenting a method of how to best live with this struggle.

I wonder if Christ struggled with the goodness of humanity.  I wonder if the evils committed by humanity wore on Him, much like it can wear on us in dark times.  What we do know is that despite this struggle, Christ consistently chose to love humanity, which brings us to our gospel story today.

Christ, out of love, agrees to help the centurion and his slave with no hesitation.  He does not expect anything in return, which is seen in His amazement of the centurion’s profession of faith, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”  In response, Christ shares a message of immense hope to those following Him, “many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”  The centurion, through his faith, unveils a message within Christ that sings of hope in humanity, which deserves to be repeated, “Many will ... recline at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven”.  It is through Christ’s willingness to love and the centurion’s response of faith where a sincere hope in humanity is born.

Today’s gospel by no means answers all my qualms concerning humanity, but it calls me to look up from my thinking and be the goodness within humanity as well as look for the goodness humanity does all around me, to be both like the centurion and Christ.  By being a philosophy major and news oriented individual, I too often find myself sulking in the evils of the world after reading a tough article or essay about another mass shooting or sexual assault case.  It is during these times I am challenged to believe in the goodness of humanity most.  Here Christ is telling us, look up and interact with humanity, don’t simply theorize, intellectualize, and philosophize about humanity.

When questioning the goodness of humanity we must put ourselves into situations that allow us to interact with the greatest source of hope for humanity, the love modeled to us by Christ.  By putting yourself in these situations you can be inspired and surprised, like Christ, by those around you.  In there lies the greatest source of hope in humanity, looking at a stranger in sincere amazement of their goodness.  Let us pray to posture our hearts to see and do this goodness as Christ’s birth approaches.

 

Luke Garrett, ‘19