In Luke 7: 6-7 (ESV), we read about "the word" in the faith of the Centurion story:

"And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed."

The submission of the Centurion , with some changes, is used in the form of a prayer heralding the administration of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church (Latin rite). I am however, curious to know what the Centurion meant by "the word."

Did he mean a single word in Hebrew, Greek , Latin or Aramaic which could be translated as "let him be healed," or did he use the term in a larger connotation?

What is the Catholic Church's perspective on the meaning of "the word?"


From St. Thomas Aquinas's Catena Aurea (Golden Chain) on Mt. 8:8:

St. Jerome: The thoughtfulness of the centurion appears herein, that he saw the Divinity hidden beneath the covering of body; wherefore he adds, "But speak the word only, and my servant will be healed."

St. Hilary: Also he therefore says that it needed only a word to heal his son, because all the salvation of the Gentiles is of faith, and the life of them all is in the precepts of the Lord. Therefore he continues saying, "For I am a man set under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it."

St. Jerome uses verbum in his translation. The Greek uses λόγος.

  • Curiously, the phraseology " The Word " appears to have taken shape in English translations only. In the translations of languages of India , for instance Hindi and Malayalam, the wording is " ..but only speak a word .." – Kadalikatt Joseph Sibichan Jul 12 '17 at 8:29

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