From Today’s Gospel (John 4):
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”
The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. While the man was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live. He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.”
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe.
Three thoughts on today’s Gospel:
1) Jesus’ response can sound like an admonition (Unless you people…), a scolding for the people’s lack of faith. But what if it’s not? What if Jesus is rather acknowledging the reality that the people’s faith is based on an encounter with Him that reveals Him as Healer, Prophet, Savior? In other words, “You people will begin to believe in me, once I reveal myself to you.” He knows us, and continually acts to reveal Himself to us in a manner that will draw us to Him.
2) God often intervenes in our lives in ways we would not expect. The official first wants Jesus to come to his son and heal him there in close physical proximity – perhaps thinking of the recent sign that Jesus performed at the wedding feast in Cana. And yet Jesus chooses to act in a different way, sending the man on a 1-2 day journey home, with “only” a promise of healing. Jesus shows the official, the town, his disciples – and us – that even His words have power, even His voice can heal and bring life.
3) Our faith is progressive – that is, we should progress in faith through every encounter with our Lord. St. John notes that the official first believes in Jesus’ word “Your son will live,” and then again after he receives confirmation that his son was healed at the time when Jesus spoke the promise. Every day, God reveals Himself to us in love as Father, Son, and Holy, Spirit. Every day, He invites to believe in Him again, to draw close Him, to be transformed.
Blessed Pier Giorgio, pray for us today – that like you, we may receive God’s actions and words in our lives, and respond in such a way to increase our faith and lay down our lives for others.
Pax et bonum,