Today I had the day off and I had the privilege of attending daily Mass with my wife. In today’s gospel (Mt 8:5-11), a centurion approaches Jesus and lets Him know that his servant is ill. When Jesus offers to come and cure the servant, the centurion replies, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” While the obvious thing that stands out is the centurion’s faith, what strikes me even more is his humility. He knows that he isn’t worthy to receive Jesus.
Even though we say the words “Lord I am not worthy…” at Mass prior to receiving Holy Communion, how many of us really think about our unworthiness when we receive Our Lord? I know that there have been many occasions when I stood in line to receive The Body and Blood of Jesus and allowed various distracting thoughts to enter my mind. I’ve also caught myself looking around to see who was at Mass that day. If I genuinely felt unworthy, could I possibly be that nonchalant? Many years ago, a priest friend of mine said that if we “really” understood the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, we would go down the aisle on our knees!
The Advent season is a good time to reflect upon how seriously we take the gift of receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist. At Mass, when we echo the words of the centurion, do we truly appreciate Who we are receiving? Do we strive to understand how unworthy any of us are to receive Him into our bodies? If you conclude that something may be lacking in your humility, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, let’s be thankful for the season of Advent, which gives us the chance to work out some of our imperfections.