In today’s Gospel, John 4: 43-54, Jesus returns to Cana. A royal official heard that Jesus arrived there from Judea and went to intercede on behalf of his dying son. He asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus responds, it seems, rather harshly, saying : “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” This did not deter the royal official. He came to Jesus on behalf of his dying son and he was not to be turned away. “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus says to him, “You may go; your son will live.”Do we realize the power of intercessory prayer, whether that prayer is for a person who is dying physically or a person who has gone astray? In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers says to us, in the meditation for March 11, “If we are not heedful and pay no attention to the way the Spirit of God works in us, we will become spiritual hypocrites. We see where other people are failing, and then we take our discernment and turn it into comments of ridicule and criticism, instead of turning it into intercession on their behalf.” That statement hit me between the eyes, so to speak. It was as though Jesus was saying to me directly: “Dorothy Ann, when God shows you where another person is failing, that is a call to make intercession for that person, not an invite to engage in ridicule or criticism of that person.”
Just as this father had an obligation to seek Jesus’ healing for his dying son, so, too, do you and I have an obligation to intercede for another when God opens our eyes to how that person is falling into sinful patterns. That act of charity on behalf of another is as crucial as it is that others pray for you and me when we, too, have landed into one of Satan’s snare. Our welfare and that of others depends on the power of prayer, on God’s mercy. And God, who hears all prayer, acts on behalf of the person for whom we are praying, just as He interceded for the royal official’s son at his father’s request.