The Gospel that we have just heard is interesting – not least because since the revision of the lectionary almost 50 years ago, this is only the second time that we have had these readings for the tenth Sunday (the last time was back in 1986) – so many preachers have probably gone scurrying for new texts with little recycling of old homilies this week. The first part of Luke chapter 7 includes a miracle story that we are perhaps more familiar with, in part because we quote from it each time we celebrate the Mass, just before receiving communion: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you under my roof, but only say the word and my servant will be healed.” The pagan Centurion whom we quote is praised by Jesus because of his strong faith. When we come to the Gospel today, there is no similar statement, because no one manifests any faith. No one in the funeral procession that Jesus and his disciples come across ask Jesus for a healing; non one in the crowd calls out for mercy. Jesus seems to simply respond in compassion to the situation at hand. I think there are two simple reasons for this.
Recorded at St Paul’s, Camden, 5.30pm (Confirmation weekend; 11’13” including the Gospel)
Sunday 10C: Luke 7, I Kings 17.