The Gospels tell us a centurion accompanied Jesus on his walk to Calvary. Although we do not meet him specifically at any one station of the Cross we can assume he was there at them all, keeping order and making sure there was no trouble. Jesus had met a centurion once before in Capernaum. The man had asked Jesus to heal his servant. Even the Jewish elders had supported his request. ‘This man deserves your help,’ they said. ‘He loves our people and has built us a synagogue.’ Jews getting on with the hated army of occupation? It was unheard of! Perhaps they couldn’t all be bad.
This centurion believed Jesus had authority just as he had over the soldiers under his charge. If Jesus was to give his word that was enough. It was a great affirmation of faith and Jesus praised him for it.
‘I have never found faith like this, not even in Israel.’
How terrible it would have been for that centurion if he had been posted to Jerusalem just at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. Of course we do not know that it was the same man but, perhaps we wonder, for when Jesus died the centurion fell to his knees saying, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God.’ A Gentile had recognised what many Jews did not.
Was he ashamed that Pilate had failed to carry out Roman justice by sending to his death a man he had declared innocent?
Was he deeply impressed by the calm way Jesus accepted his cross, unlike other men who would have screamed and tried to get away.
The centurion was a soldier, not a murderer, but he was compelled to do his duty. How many other soldiers like him have said, ‘I was only obeying orders?’
Finally how Jesus’ words must have bewildered him. ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’ How could anyone forgive such an act of cruel injustice?’ We might wonder if the centurion wanted to find out more about him.
We don’t know what happened to him later – yet – isn’t there another centurion in Acts chapter 10? When I read his story I wonder. Perhaps we could read it this week and wonder who Cornelius is.
The Church of the Ascension
Parish Notices – Sunday 18th March 2018
Services and Activates:
Sunday 18th March 2018 9:15 am Parish Mass
Followed Soup & Roll in the Hall
Sunday 18th March 2018 1:00 pm Table Top Sale
Monday 19th March 2018 5:30 pm Office Hour
Monday 19th March 2018 7:15 pm Service of the Word
Monday 19th March 2018 7:45 pm Study Group
Wednesday 21st March 2018 9:15 am Mass
Thursday 22nd March 2018 2:00 pm Study Group
20 Parkside (Ron & Marion Marshall’s Home)
Friday 23rd March 2018 10:00 am Stations of the Cross
Sunday 25th March 2018 9:15 am Parish Mass
Father Richard Brown:
As you know Father Richard was appointed Priest in Charge at Holy Cross, Marsh Moor in the Diocese of St Albans. His Farewell Mass at St Hilda’s Grangetown will be on Friday 6th April 2018 at 7:00 pm. He will be licensed at the Holy Cross on Tuesday 8th May 2018 at 7:30 pm
Vicarage & Garage Emptying:
We are asking for volunteers to help with the final clearing of material (mainly books). If you could support this please speak to Carol Jenkins.
As we ahead for Maundy Thursday and Easter Day we normally get flowers for the Altar of Repose and the Church for Easter. We would like to remind everyone that we have money bag each Sunday for donations if people wish to contribute to the Flower fund.