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Faith: Renewal in Christ

March 23, 2020 (readings) Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

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 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.


Opening Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are making all things new in my life and that the power of your Resurrection is already at work in me through my Baptism. I hope in that same Resurrection, that even now as I unite myself to you, I will one day rise to live with you. I love you, Lord Jesus; help me to love you evermore for who you are, and not simply for what you do.


Encountering Christ:


1. In His Native Place: At the very beginning of this Gospel, Jesus identified a very painful truth: a prophet has no honor in his native place. He was coming from Samaria, where he had revealed himself to be the Messiah, “the One who is to come” (cf. John 4:1-42). In Galilee, however, Jesus was returning to a people who knew him as the son of Joseph and Mary, a supposed miracle-worker they witnessed at the feast in Jerusalem. Jesus wanted to show them that he is much more than a magic man. He wanted to reveal himself as Messiah, just as he did in Samaria, even though he knew it would lead to his eventual rejection in Nazareth. Christ has an intense desire to make himself known to every man, but at the end of the day, he respects our freedom. We are called to put aside any false images of Christ we might cling to and ask him in prayer to reveal himself as he truly is.


2. Faith Making All Things New: “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” Jesus wants us to go beyond seeing miracles, for seeing is not the full force of believing. He told the royal official to go home, that his son had been cured—what proof did the man have? He took a leap of faith, left Jesus, and returned home to find that his son had been cured at the exact time he had been dismissed by Jesus. Oftentimes, Jesus asks us to take a similar leap of faith in life—to accept the advice of a spiritual director, to make a pilgrimage, to help start a new business venture, or to begin a new relationship. He wants us to trust in him, even when the results he promises aren’t immediately visible.


3. The Whole Household Believed: The royal official’s leap of faith resulted in his son’s miraculous healing. The whole family benefited because they all became believers. The community in Galilee who witnessed the miracle were also given an opportunity to believe. All of the readers of this Gospel passage up until this very moment had heard of this miracle and had been blessed with the grace to believe. How many souls did this one royal official touch by choosing 2,000 years ago to believe in Jesus’s power to heal? We’ll never know. Nor is it possible to guess at the good our sacrifices, prayers, and acts of faith can bring to the world because of the goodness of Jesus. “To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul,” said St. Therese of Lisieux.


Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, enlighten the eyes of my heart, to see you for who you truly are: the Son of Man, the Savior of the World. Give me the grace to live a sacrificial Lent, trusting that you will bless my efforts for the good of others.


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will add one little sacrifice to my day with the hope that you will multiply it for the good of those I love.

For Further Reflection: “These days,” you were saying, “have been the happiest in my life.” And I answered you without hesitation: that is because you ‘have lived’ with a little more self-giving than usual--St. Jose Maria Escriva

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