Lord, I am not worthy
that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word
and my soul shall be healed.
I had heard it before. It is from my very early memories of Mass; I remembered that I did not understand what that meant, so I asked an adult (my father's aunt). She told me the story from Matthew 8, the Centurion's servant:
And when he had entered into Capharnaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grieviously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And Jesus hearing this, marvelled; and said to them that followed him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. (D-R)
(Faith like that always makes me pause and gasp.)
So, here's a cool thing that happened then, and it can now happen again: A passage is interesting enough for a child to ask an adult what it means, and the adult has the story to tell off the top of her head. How great an opportunity is that?
But, who will answer the child today? Do Mom and Dad have the knowledge? The catechetics of felt banners and happy-smiley photos has never had to answer questions like this. Have we lost that opportunity through 40 years of poor translation? Fortunately, we have more resources than ever to fill in the gaps. We have scripture, and we can find passages in seconds using the internet. Let's not let questions like this go unanswered.
Hooray for the new translation!