Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5; Matthew 8:5-11
Isaiah’s sublimely harmonious vision of Jerusalem belies everything we know of that beleaguered city’s history. The prophet looks to the eschatological, not the historical, city. Certainly nothing in our contemporary experience corresponds to this prophecy.
Yet I’ve heard from so many contemporary pilgrims and tourists, visitors to that same city, who were neither naïve nor starry-eyed escapists, how much they were overwhelmed by God’s love there. How is that possible?
Perhaps today’s Gospel hints how this is possible.
After Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane, no one denounced him before the Sanhedrin as being a Roman sympathizer; it was the Roman governor who, in fact, ordered his execution. Yet today we find him not challenging this unnamed Roman centurion as the enemy or invader but listening to him as a human being. Further, he extols his faith as deeper than anything he’s experienced among his own people. He sees the person, not the label, not the packaging. Perhaps that’s the key to getting beneath the conflicts and being overwhelmed by God’s love.