Monday of the Fourth Week
Lord I offer you my generosity. Let me never see a need without doing something about it. Chris Brolly SJ
Entering into prayer
Choose a way to enter into prayer from earlier in Lent or any method that you prefer.
Today's Scripture (John 4:43-54)
When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honour in the prophet’s own country). When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.
Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’ The official said to him, ‘Sir, come down before my little boy dies.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will live.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, ‘Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.’ The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.
Food for thought
In today’s Gospel we hear of an official at the court of Herod Antipas. As you read the Gospel, try to put yourself in the official’s shoes. He hears about Jesus and sets off for Cana, a day’s walk, about 20 miles uphill, to ask Jesus to come down to Capernaum to heal his dying son. Even though he is a royal official with authority, he is powerless to prevent his son from dying. In his need he walks about 20 miles uphill to ask a carpenter for help! What does that tell you about this official? He believes – or at least hopes – that Jesus has the power to heal his son.
The official does not respond to Jesus’ words about signs and wonders, he has only one thing on his mind, the life of his child. He accepts Jesus’ word that his son is healed, even though this is not something he can immediately verify. How do you think he felt? There is no visible sign or wonder to testify to a healing; there is only Jesus’ word that his son lives. The official believes Jesus’ word and acts on it by going home.
When the master’s son unexpectedly gets well, his servants set out for Cana to tell him. They meet him on the road as he is returning home and give him the good news that his son would live. The official does not express surprise that his son has recovered from his life-threatening illness, for he believed Jesus’ word. Instead he asks when it occurred. They tell him and the father realizes that the boy recovered at the very time that Jesus said he would. This confirms for the official what he had taken on faith.
The official is not named and does not reappear in this Gospel, yet he is held up as a model of faith. Even though he wanted Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, he accepted Jesus’ word that his son would live, despite there being nothing to immediately verify it. He acted on Jesus’ word, going back to Capernaum. He realized the significance of Jesus’ restoration of life to his son; he came to believe that Jesus is the source of life. He shared his belief with those closest to him, bringing his whole household to faith.
Suggestions for Prayer
Have you had faith-testing moments in your life? How did you respond? How is the official a model of faith for you? What kind of faith are you being called to this Lent? Today? How do you feel about sharing your faith with others? Ask Jesus for what you most need at this present time.
How are you going to respond today?
Consider a way in which you can show or share your faith today. If you can, reach out to others whose faith in God (or other people) may be tested, to strengthen them.
Image for the day
- What do you see in this image?
- How does this story and picture help you reflect on faith, humility and healing?
Examen (review of prayer)
At the end of your prayer you can look back and ask: Does it have something to say to you?
How does it make you feel? Imagine how God might reply.
Conversation: When you come towards the end of your time of prayer, talk to God about what has come up for you. End with a formal prayer, such as the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father.