The Tie That Binds
It is easier to think of a widow and her meager offering (Mark 12:41-44) as an example of faith than anything coming from an agent of oppression--like a centurion in service to Rome. It is easier to look at those who seem to know and serve Jesus best than to newcomers or outsiders.
Here as elsewhere the idea of difference and diversity is appealing, just as hot dogs are a nice break from sushi. One of the most popular television commercials of all time was the 1971 Coca-Cola ad that had all different kinds of people on a mountain-top singing about how they'd "like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony." Not so popular, no doubt, would have been an ad about teaching the world how to argue. Harmony and tolerance are not the same as diversity and respect. Difference is not simply a matter for resolution but relationship.
Different from the disciples though he was, the centurion could relate to Jesus and Jesus to him. "I also am a man set under authority." The centurion knew that Jesus didn't have to appear in person and only had to say so and the servant would be healed. Amazed, Jesus declared, "Not even in Israel have I found such faith."
What inspires healing and respect, and draws us together amid difference, is the overriding authority of God's love.
Prayer: God of us all, may I look again at what I find strange or different and find your healing love in the spirit of Christ. Amen.