From the Executive Director
21st Century Muslims Helped by 1st Century Centurion!
A senior officer in the Roman army, commanding forces occupying Israel two thousand years ago, did something both generous and bizarre. He built a Jewish synagogue. Cradled in the polytheism of the Roman Empire, he must have found the monotheism of occupied Israel initially jarring. Luke 7 in the New Testament, read in churches around the world this past Sunday, tells the story of the grateful members of the congregation appealing to Jesus to heal the servant of this righteous Gentile. The Catholic Mass quotes the Centurion’s message to Jesus, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
Young Muslims have volunteered to help rebuild the twice-destroyed Catholic Cathedral in Torit South Sudan as a call for peace and reconciliation. But the initiative cannot begin without the Vatican’s approval. This week’s reminder of the Centurion’s generosity and vision 2,000 years ago may prove to be the key in opening up the way for Pope Francis’ blessing.