Introduction: John 4:46-54, is a text which shows a paradigm of authentic faith in the Son of God. It is not miracles that make people believe but the discovering who Jesus is and why he has been sent to the world. In other words, believing in Jesus is to enter in a relationship with him so that he can reveal to us who he is and the way to the Father by obeying his words: “This is my beloved Son listen to him” (Lk 9:35), “His mother said to the servants do whatever He says” (Jn 2:5).
Give me the grace to grow in my relationship
with your Son Jesus;
free me from any resistance
or obstacle that can impede
his acceptance in my life,
so that he may bring
purpose and meaning to my existence.
- Read the text John 4:46-54 read the text slowly and listen attentively with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
- Reflect: read the text again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
- Respond: read the text again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this text lead you to ask for from the Lord?
- Stay with the Word: read the text a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Don’t say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
- Take now the word, sentence or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word lead you action.
Conclude your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Reflection: It was said from the beginning of our reflections on John’s Gospel that apparently the intention of the author of the Gospel was to stimulate and inspire people to believe in Jesus Son of God and enter into a deep relationship with him. It is about believing and enhancing the faith, personally and as community of believers, the church. The story in this text “the cure of the Centurion’s son” offers us some stages of authentic belief/faith in the Son of God. It can be develop in three stages: a) the beginnings of believe; b) trusting and believing, and c) The Confirmation and the Witnessing Faith.
Central Message: …”there was a court Official whose son was ill at Capernaum…hearing that Jesus had arrived in Galilee…he went and ask him to come and cure his son as he was at the point of death…Jesus said, ‘so you will not believe unless you see sings and portents!’ ‘Sir’…come down before my child dies’…’Go home…your son will live’ The man believed what Jesus had said and started on his way…On the journey back his servants met him with the news that his boy was alive…he and all his household believed.”
a) The beginnings of believe: the Centurion or Official of the story is thought to be a pagan or a gentile who only believed, as a good soldier, in the orders of the emperor as he was used to. He was from Capernaum, about 20 miles away from Cana. When he heard that Jesus returned to Cana he run to meet him with no hesitation; it seemed that he had the desire to meet him for some time but never have the chance. His desire became stronger when he heard that Jesus was coming to Cana. Why? Because he had now a particular need which make him and his family enter into a crises caused by his son’s illness who was at the point of death. So the official accustom to be in control and with certain power for the position he held, felt powerless; having exhausted all that was in his power and other resources to solve the crisis, he did not know where else to go but to turn to Jesus as his last resort and the only one who could solve his problem. The journey of faith of the official started with the desire to meet Jesus because he heard so much about him. The desire increased when he went into crisis caused by his incapacity to make his son well again and had to look for Jesus’ healing power. That happens to any human person no matter what walk of life, profession race etc., s/he comes from. The severe disasters of life are beyond any person’s control that makes us turn to something more powerful than anything else, to God through his son Jesus.
b) …Trusting and believing: the Official made his way to Jesus, not only the geographical but also the spiritual journey as he was desperately in need “his son was at the point of death”. He hoped Jesus could keep him alive, He was his last resort. Imagine how difficult it was for the Official to leave his son behind fearing that his son could die and not being able to see him alive again. He might have truly and authentically trusted in the power of Jesus, as he had already heard that he was in Jerusalem curing all sorts of deceases. In a sense, he already believed in Jesus even if he did not see him yet. That is what faith is all about to believe in the Unseen and without seeing. Believing comes before any miracle. Jesus performs miracles not to make people believe in him but to confirm them in their faith. For Jesus believing is obeying and obeying is believing. The Official’s request was ‘Sir, come down before my child dies’. This request may have implied that only Jesus’s presence would be a requirement to make the miracle possible. But Jesus makes the Official believe (obey) that the power of his word is enough and he only had to say the necessary words no more no less ’Go home your son will live!’ That was it, the Official believed and obeyed in Jesus’s word that immediately made off for Capernaum. He did not argue or object Jesus’ command; he just obeyed him trusting in his word. Sometimes we expect miracles to happen in order to believe, that is not faith but luck of it. If we truly believe that Christ is the Saviour of the world, then we will follow Christ, we will commit ourselves to him. We do what Christ says: we obey Christ’ word.
c) The Confirmation and the Witnessing Faith: “On the journey back his servants met him with the news that his boy was alive” this is the time of confirmation of his faith without seen and believing in the person of Jesus, his saviour. When he saw with his own eyes that his son was alive he shared with his household exactly what Jesus said to him at the exact hour when his son started to recover. His experience of the encounter with Jesus was contagious because after sharing his experience with his household they became believers too, they received the word of Jesus through the Official and saw the miracle of the cure of his son. They then became a community of believers a domestic church. When something like that happens it’s almost impossible to keep it to ourselves, instead we immediate react and share it with those nearby. The joy we feel is such that it’s almost impossible not to let others know of our experience. So we are all called to share and give witness of what God in Jesus has done for us and in us. Do not fear what people may say about your believe and the faith in Jesus but rather be proud that Jesus chose you to be his voice his witness, so that, others may believe in him because as he says “whoever listens to my words and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life” (Jn 5:24).
Some questions for our reflexion:
- What is keeping you from coming to Jesus?
- Where is your faith based in? Do you need a miracle to believe?
- Is your faith leading you to obeying God’s word and to bear witness of his son Jesus? If yes, say how; if not why not?