Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

(Jn 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.

The 2nd sign

The miracle stories in the Gospel of John are signs, that is, beyond the visible event or act, there is a greater spiritual reality or truth that is being taught. Thus, the 1st sign, the miracle of the water being transformed into wine at Cana was a sign of the inauguration of the “New Covenant” that Jesus was to bring about by his Passion.

The 2nd miracle, the cure of the son of the Official, was a sign of the extent of the redemption Jesus was to accomplish. Previous to this miracle we have Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus (representing the Jews) and the encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (representing the “lost tribes of Israel”). With this miracle Jesus makes it clear that salvation is not only for the children of Abraham but is extended to non-Jews. The Official the this Gospel episode was probably a pagan or Roman centurion. The story is very similar to the one we read in Matthew 8, 5.

Moreover, co-relating this miracle with our first reading, we find the deeper significance of the cure of the son of the Official. Isaiah prophesies the defeat of death with the coming of the “new heavens and a new earth”. Jesus will conquer sin, sickness, death! Oh how blest are we, too, who are non-Jews to be included in Christ Jesus’ work of salvation.


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