Monday, March 23, 2009

Go Home! Your Son Is Alive!

Today’s readings remind us of the relationship between faith, hope and healing. Hope is related to faith; the philosophers describe it as “belief in things yet unseen”. The prophet Isaiah gives us a vivid portrayal of hope for our world: God is going to renew the face of the earth. Jerusalem, after being destroyed by the Chaldeans, will be rebuilt. No longer will the sound of weeping be heard in the streets. No longer will any infants live only a few days. Men who are still alive at one hundred years old will be considered mere youths. Every family will have a house of their own, and will eat the food they plant in their own fields, and drink the wine from the grapes that grow in their own vineyards.

Today’s gospel begins on a negative note, as Jesus complains that prophets get no respect in their home towns. But when he leaves Jerusalem and returns to Galilee, where he was born, he is warmly welcomed by his neighbors, because they had seen the wonders he performed in the City during the Passover Festival. He went to Cana, where he had changed water into wine. He was met there by a “royal official”. It is not recorded whether this was a Roman official or a soldier in Herod’s army. Not that it would make much difference! Anyone in Herod’s employ would have been considered contemptible.

The official asks Jesus to heal his son. Jesus’ response seems rather stark, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you won’t believe! “ It seems that Jesus is speaking not only to the official, but to the crowd, chiding them for the last of trust. But, the official perseveres, “Sir, come quickly, before my boy dies!” Jesus says, “Go home. Your son is alive.” While he was on his way back, some servants came to report that the boy would live. “The fever left him yesterday about one in the afternoon.” The father then remembered that it was at just that time Jesus had said, “Your son will live”.

A boy lives, because Jesus said the word. What word do you need to hear today? What word is God speaking to you, to your loved one, right now? What tracks in your memory banks would need to be erased so that there will be room enough in your heart and mind to record Jesus’ word and believe it?

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