In a previous parish I asked a wonderful lady if she would be a Eucharistic Minister. To me, she seemed to be exactly the sort of person we would want in that ministry, prayerful, faithful and involved in other ministries of the Church. “Oh,” she said when I asked, “I don’t think I am holy enough for that.”
It surprised me to hear that someone who was so obviously and visibly in touch with God would question their qualification for such a task. With a bit of convincing, she agreed to join in this ministry. But it strikes me that we are all prone to think that we are not good enough.
This week we are remembering Cornelius the Centurion. Cornelius was a Centurion, a gentile in a world where the Jews were oppressed by the Roman Empire of which Cornelius was a visible sign and a practical enforcement. Yet, he called on Peter to come and preach to him. Peter was probably cautious but Cornelius had good motives – he wanted to be baptized.
This story should remind us that there is no one way to be a follower of Christ, no single mold to conform to. Cornelius was the first non-Jew to be baptized. The followers of Jesus are often unexpected and from places very different to our own. All of us have something in common, all of us are made good enough and holy enough through the love of God in Jesus.