The part of the Mass that gets me every time is when the priest elevates the host, proclaiming, “Behold the Lamb of God! Behold him who takes away the sins of the world,” and we respond “Lord, I am not worthy for you to enter under my roof, but say only the word and my soul shall be healed.”
The response that we offer calls to mind the words that were spoken by the Roman centurion to Jesus when he begged the Lord to heal his sick servant. Yet for us, we are not asking for someone to be healed. We are asking for our own healing. We are acknowledging that we are about to receive our Lord into our bodies. This response is intended to awaken us to the awesome reality of what is about to take place.
I am awed by this moment at Mass for many reasons. First, I am captivated by the image of the Lamb of God, and I appreciate that intimate moment of forgiveness and healing. I find pleasure in the anticipation of receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. And, I welcome the phrase “under my roof”.
It is something to imagine what that Roman centurion thought when Jesus said that he was going to go to his house. Jesus under my roof? For us today it would be like the Pope or the Queen coming to our homes. In addition to being excited and thrilled at the prospect, we would probably think, “Oh no! Not now! I’m not prepared! The house isn’t clean, my furniture isn’t good enough, I have nothing to offer!”
So, when I am preparing to receive Jesus, in an infinitely more profound way in the Most Holy Eucharist, I absolutely take on similar sentiments. Jesus under my roof?
But also like the centurion, I do not stop in the anticipation and the panic. I recognize that Jesus is Lord and so all it takes is his word for my soul will be healed of all unworthiness. So that he may indeed come under my roof.