Why are the words of the centurion used (when the analogy doesn't work)?

I just can’t understand why the Church chose the words of the centurion as the response during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

It seems completely inappropriate; the analogy just doesn’t work.

In the Bible story where the text originates, Jesus never really does go under the man’s roof! He heals from afar!

This is absolutely NOT what happens when we receive Him, most intimately, in the Eucharist.

Why are those words there for us to say during the Mass only moments before we (actually, truly, physically, absolutely) DO receive Him UNDER OUR ROOF?

Also, are there other rites of the Church, in union with Rome, who do not have this as a response during the Mass?

Thank You.


As you say, Jesus does actually come under one’s body’s roof within one’s very person. But what is important about the words of the centurion does not derive from whether Jesus actually entered the man’s house. What so impressed Jesus is that they were words of humble faith from a Roman. The man was not a Jew, nor one of the followers of Jesus. But his humble faith far surpassed the faith of most of the so-called believers. The Church is equally impressed and so puts them on our lips as a reminder of the humility we should have in receiving Him under our roof.

Most of all, they are words that speak the truth. We aren’t worthy that He should come under our roof. But by His mercy, we are made worthy. Thank you for the opportunity to focus on these wonderful words. I have been wanting to do so here for a long time.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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