MARCH 15. LENT. WK 4. MON. JN. 4. 43-54
Jesus left Samaria for Galilee. He himself had declared that there is no respect for a prophet in his own country, but on his arrival the Galileans received him well, having seen all that he had done at Jerusalem during the festival which they too had attended.
He went again to Cana in Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a court official there whose son was ill at Capernaum and, hearing that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judaea, he went and asked him to come and cure his son as he was at the point of death. Jesus said, ‘So you will not believe unless you see signs and portents!’ ‘Sir,’ answered the official ‘come down before my child dies.’ ‘Go home,’ said Jesus ‘your son will live.’ The man believed what Jesus had said and started on his way; and while he was still on the journey back his servants met him with the news that his boy was alive. He asked them when the boy had begun to recover. ‘The fever left him yesterday’ they said ‘at the seventh hour.’ The father realised that this was exactly the time when Jesus had said, ‘Your son will live’; and he and all his household believed.
This was the second sign given by Jesus, on his return from Judaea to Galilee.
The central lesson in this reading is to be found in the words of Jesus; - “So you will not believe unless you see signs and portents!”; - where he is teaching us is that we need to have Faith; - without the necessity of “signs”.
One of the reasons for this is the primary requirement for Christians to put the wisdom and Will of God before their own Will and desires. In today’s Gospel Christ does what the official asks; - and of course he rejoiced at this “sign”!
But where would that leave the man had God not wanted his child to get better?
When we look for “signs” from God we are generally looking for him “to do what I want”, but that can hardly be considered as evidence of our love of God; - which is what Christ is looking for from his disciples!
In saying “you will not believe unless you see signs” Christ is expressing his disappointment in the lack of Faith when his followers come to him seeking their own Will, and forgetting the need for sacrifice and self-denial!
This was an issue Christ raised again in the sermon on the mount where he said; - “Woe to you who are rich now, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.”
Fortunately, Christ was a gentle teacher as he had to slowly prepare his followers to understand what was involved in Christian Love, as he knew the suffering and sacrifice they would soon have to endure when they saw him hanging on a Cross on Calvary.
On one hand he performed miracles to demonstrate he was the Son of God, but on the other hand he endured sufferings and sacrifice to show what was required if one was to love God.
The true follower of Christ has to learn that God often shows his love for us by wanting us to embrace sufferings; - in reparation for our sin; - and in imitation of his only Son on Calvary!