From the Gospel according to John, 4,43-54
At that time, Jesus left Samaria to go to Galilee. But he himself had declared that a prophet does not receive honor in his homeland. But when he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him with joy, since they had seen everything he had done in Jerusalem during the festival; they too had gone to the party.
So he went again to Cana of Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. There was an official of the king, who had a sick son in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to go down to heal his son because he was about to die. Jesus said to him, “If you don’t see signs and wonders, you don’t believe.” But the king’s official insisted, “Lord, come down before my baby dies.” Jesus replies: “Go, your son lives.” That man believed the word Jesus had said to him and set off. Just as he was going down, the servants came to him and said, “Your son lives!” He then inquired at what time he had begun to feel better. They said to him, “Yesterday, an hour after noon the fever left him.” The father recognized that just at that hour Jesus had said to him: “Your son lives”, and he believed with all his family.
This was the second miracle that Jesus did by returning from Judea to Galilee.
Lent teaches us the appropriate attitude to take in the face of events that smell of death, like the coronavirus pandemic in we which we live now. This virus is like the illness that the “king’s official” encountered. We also have a “son” who “is about to die.” He lives in “Capernaum”, the homeland of Jesus, whose people refused him. That’s why he’s was to die. Like the son of the official, the Son of God is in us. However, he is in agony, since we have not welcomed him into our lives. Many times, we have not desired to let him be our Savior.
We belong to the Church, yet our closeness to Jesus may have caused us to slip into a superficial relationship with him. We have become accustomed to his love. We are no longer surprised by the graces by which he accompanies us every day.
We have become oblivious to the liturgies, the Word of God, and the possibility of being forgiven and starting over again through confession and absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These things have become like a background noise of life.
For this reason we have not been able to diagnose the symptoms of the disease that attacked the king’s official son, which is the disease that attacks our spirit. What can these symptoms be? INDIFFERENCE and CARELESSNESS to our spouse’s needs. SELFISHNESS towards others, IMPATIENCE and INTOLERANCE towards children. HARSH JUDGMENT toward others. GOSSIPING and TALKING behind our brother’s back. Moreover, SLOTH in prayer, ATTACHMENT to money, and the subtle and pernicious sense of VICTIMIZING OURSELVES against the whole world. You and I are not victims, yet in reality we are poor and helpless sinners. Jesus Christ is the true victim, brothers and sisters! He paid for all of our sins, once and for all!
The devil subtly slipped into the holes left unattended by the superficiality of the routine in which we have lived our relationship with Christ. Because of this, he locked us slowly inside the prison of pride.
But Jesus, in this time of grace, returns “again” to “Cana of Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine.” He still descends into our life to rekindle the memory of our beginnings, the first “signs” that have changed our gray life into joy. These first “signs” are the moments when we listened and welcomed his Word by experiencing its regenerating power. He comes back to heal us, fulfilling in us “what he did in Jerusalem.”
What did he do in Jerusalem, my dear brothers and sisters? He purified us, yet not by punishing us, but by chasing away vendors and money changers from our heart, to rebuild his Temple in us, and have Easter with us.
Brothers and sisters, now is the moment to “ask” him to “go down” into our sins. It is true, we are still very capricious. Our faith is childish. To “believe” we still demand to “see signs and wonders.” However, Jesus knows us. As at the wedding, he lets himself be torn away again to lead us to adult faith. For this reason, with infinite mercy, he still announces his Word to us, offering us a second “sign” to convert and believe.
Get on your knees and pray and beg. “Lord help me, come to me!”
“Listen” to the Word of Jesus which the Church preaches to you and “obey.” “Set off” like the official of the king to go and experience that it is true and the Word fulfills what he announces. In this Lent, descend the ladder of HUMILITY which leads to the waters of Baptism.
We are given a time to grow in faith by experiencing the power of his word: “Go, your son lives.” He lives and we will know how to forgive. He lives and we will offer ourselves on the bed of illness. He lives and we will humble ourselves by accepting the limits of old age. He lives and we will love, passing with Christ from death to life.
Each day is an appointment, an appointment in which we are invited to recognize that “just in the instant” in which it was announced, and in which we obeyed, the word had “already” worked its wonder. Let us fast and pray so that we may experience the healing of the “son” in our hearts.
God bless you,