John 4: 43-54
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
he 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.
Introductory Prayer: Father,
I come before you with faith, hope and love.
I will give my best effort to be attentive to
your grace and inspiration during this time of prayer.
Petition: Lord, help me to have greater fortitude and
1. No Prophet Has Honor in His Native Place: Pay
careful attention to how St. John the Evangelist introduced this
saying of Jesus. “At that time Jesus left
Samaria for Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet
has no honor in his native place.” If Jesus
knew there were no honors awaiting him in Galilee,
why not go somewhere where the reception would be better?
Jesus is trying to give us an example: he
is not interested in “honor”, but rather in carrying
out the mission. He is the Prophet par excellence. He
himself is the message the Father has for humanity,
and personal considerations will not keep him from his
appointed task. We must be committed in our own personal
mission, whether or not we can expect to be
honored, or even appreciated. Our purity of intention is
a good thermometer for following Christ.
2. Signs and Wonders:
Jesus does the miracle, but not without reminding everyone that
true faith cannot simply be based on “signs and
wonders.” Why is this? Perhaps what Jesus is criticizing
is the jaded religious outlook that can experience the
presence of the divine only in the spectacular, while failing
to perceive it in the quiet and small ways
that God makes his presence known. With deeper faith,
we can see God all around us. That beautiful sunset
– isn’t it a masterpiece of God’s creative power
on display? The unexpected apology – wasn’t that the working
of grace? That helping hand stretched out to us
just when we needed it – wasn’t that Christ
in our midst? The person whose faith doesn’t need “signs
and wonders” is precisely the person who sees so
many more signs and wonders – the everyday, loving
presence of the Lord.
3. “He and His Whole Household Came
to Believe.” No grace given is strictly personal, just
between “me and Jesus.” Everything is meant to radiate
beyond the individual to build up the entire body of
Christ. The royal official received the miracle he requested,
but afterwards it wasn’t simply a return to business
as usual, now that his son was back in action.
Indeed, the healing was the occasion for something far
bigger: “His whole household came to believe.” This grace
has borne abundant fruit. At the outset, our Lord had
remarked about the lack of honor given to the
native son-prophet. This entire family and household coming to
faith is the confirmation that sacrificing honor is more
than compensated by saving souls.
Conversation with Christ:
Lord Jesus, what joy this family’s conversion
must have given to your heart! Their faith was a
marvelous sign of the efficacy of your grace. Help
me to have greater faith, to see you present
in the small and big things of life, and to
draw others closer to you.
Resolution: Like the
royal official, I want to help my family to have
a deeper faith. I will bring up a spiritual
topic at family dinner and try to encourage a
more faith-filled perspective.