At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place. When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves had gone to the feast. Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. 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. Now this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea. (John 4:43-54)
Humans have an obsession with entertainment. Witness how we spend much of our free time. Much of it is spent viewing or being part of an audience, large or small watching some person or some thing attempting to capture our senses.
We like to be transported to a land of make believe.
Look at the Galileans. Initially, they wanted their local son driven out. Now, they welcomed Him because of all the wonderous things that Jesus had done. Now THAT was entertainment, their home town boy returned with a bag full of” tricks.” They didn’t have faith; they were reveling in the spectacle.
They didn’t understand that entertainment runs the risk of creating noise in our lives that drown out the still, small voice calling us away from the precipice of immature delusion and toward the deeper and more fulfilling vision of wonder that is based on reality rather than “sleight of hand” amazement.
Not so the royal official who walked 20 miles to see Jesus.
He journeyed out of last-ditch hope. He asked Jesus “to come down and heal his son.” Jesus wanted to bring this man to real faith, faith not only in Jesus as a person but faith in what he taught. That’s when Jesus said to him, “You may go. Your son will live.” It was a supreme test of faith, whether he would believe in Jesus enough to believe in his word. And “The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.” And we know that on the way back, he was intercepted and told that his son had gotten better. He could have simply rejoiced as if it were a coincidence, but he asked at what time his son was cured.
“He and his whole household came to believe.” He helped his family grow to faith that it was precisely Jesus’ healing word that worked the miracle.
So here is the question for us. Where are we in our belief about Jesus Christ? What are we looking for; a sign or a savior? The answer lies in today’s Gospel. We need to stop looking for the sign or miracle but rather we should be opening our hearts to believe in the Son of God. To believe enough to change our lives and follow his way . . . every day. Are we?
At this half way point in Lent, we should be taking the time to review what has intoxicated our attention span and flooded our good desire for wonder with the empty calories of entertainment? How do we worship? Is our worship merely relevant, or is it always challenging you to transcendence? Do we believe enough to step out in our faith and to trust in Jesus Christ? Are we willing to forgo the “cotton candy” of selfish titillation and embrace the deeper beauty of true wonder, or will we come to that “awful judgement seat of Christ” with no “right answer” because we are waiting for the sign? Meanwhile, we have let true beauty and true faith escape through your fingers.
The Lord Jesus wants us to help us to grow to a point in our lives where we walk by his word in faith, where we trust in his word and where we journey according to his promises.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, your love never fails and your mercy is unceasing. Give me the courage to surrender my stubborn pride, fear and doubts to your surpassing love, wisdom and knowledge. Make me strong in faith, persevering in hope, and constant in love.”
The whole purpose of the Lenten season from God’s perspective is to make us new —— and the whole purpose of the Lenten season from our perspective ought to be to cooperate in that renewal. The renewal God wants to give us is a renewal in faith, to help our faith grow. We need to use our freedom to follow him by the light of faith out of darkness. We are to behold him, like the ancient Israelites beheld the bronze serpent mounted on the pole, not just with natural human vision but with the eyes of faith — and for us to do so we need his help. We see how he gave that assistance to grow in faith, to journey with him into the light of faith, to the pagan royal official in today’s Gospel — and through him to all the members of his household.