Is 65: 17-21
Ps 30: 2 and 4. 5-6. 11-12a and 13b
Jn 4: 43-54.
We have the healing of the son of an official for today’s reflection. This official might have been a high ranking official from the court of King Herod. This is the second miracle that Jesus performed in Galilee according to John’s narrative. Jesus returns from Judea to Galilee via Samaria. In Judea he was not received well. In Samaria at Sychar he had the encounter with the Samaritan woman and the people of Samaria welcomed him. Now he has come to Cana where he had changed water to wine. Earlier according to Luke’s narrative Jesus was rejected in Nazareth, his home town. Now that the people of Galilee had heard about and some of them had witnessed, the great things he had done in Judea, there is a change in their attitude. They are now ready to welcome Jesus.
The official’s son is seriously sick. He had heard about Jesus and the miracles he had performed. He believes that Jesus can heal his son. We find in that official a man having extra ordinary courage to come and ask for a favour from Jesus. He travels from Capernaum about twenty miles away, to the hill side city, Cana. By foot, it takes about two days’ journey to reach there. The official since he had the means, might have been on horseback. He comes and begs Jesus to save his son.
He had to put aside his pride as a court official to come to Jesus requesting this favour. He might have been ridiculed by his fellows and friends to go to the ‘carpenter’ prophet Jesus for a cure leaving aside his official duties and ignoring the doctors available in Capernaum. A man in dire need does not look for logic. He had to save his son any way. And he believes that Jesus can cure his son who is at the point of death. So reaches Cana to invite Jesus to his home to do the miracle. But the response of Jesus is not so encouraging. He rebukes him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” But he relents at the pitiful request of the father, “Sir, come down before my son dies.” Still Jesus is not in a mood to go with him to his house. He says, “Go, your son will live.” This is a point of hard test for the faith of that father. Should he go back listening to what Jesus said or should he force Jesus again to accompany him? He had the gift of faith. He believes what Jesus said and goes back. On the way the servants meet him and convey him the message that his son is cured. After the initial shock he enquires the exact time of his cure. It coincides with the time when Jesus pronounced the words, “Go, Your son will live.” As a result he and his whole extended household believe in Jesus.
Pride and faith will not go together. You have to surrender your pride when you approach Jesus in faith. You have to put aside all your fears and doubts if you have to experience the healing that Jesus offers. The official is a good example of true faith. He did not consider his social status something that he had to hold on in comparison to his faith. He took Jesus at His word. This is what we have to learn from him. Jesus my Lord is omnipotent. His power is not restricted by geographical boundaries. A word of his mouth, from far is enough to effect miracles. Jesus, we trust in you. Increase our faith.
Dr Martin Mallathu CMI