Monday, March 12, 2018

Getting to Know Jesus and Taking One's Needs to Him

In today's Gospel, John 4: 43-54, Jesus returns to Galilee, frustrated that he was not received in his hometown, saying: "...[A] prophet has no honor in his native place."  Experiencing the indifference and hostility of his hometown, Jesus goes to Galilee, where He is welcome. He actually returns to Cana of Galilee, where he performed his first miracle in changing water into wine. A royal official from Judea approaches him and begs Jesus to heal his son who, in Capernaum, is at the point of death. Initially, Jesus responds with a reproach: "Unless you people see signs and wonders you will not believe."  The royal official simply says to Jesus: "Sir, come down before my child dies." Go,  "your son will live."  On his return home, the royal official learns that his son actually began to recover at the very moment that Jesus said: "[Y]our son will live."

There are several learnings here. First of all, we learn that Jesus is a human person like us. Jesus experienced all of the emotions you and I experience when we are rejected, ignored, and/or treated with indifference. Jesus could feel frustrated and, also,  taken advantage of, as when he complained that people just wanted to "see signs and wonders."  Second of all, we learn that Jesus reads hearts, as with the royal official. The royal official did not approach Jesus just to see a sign. He knew that Jesus healed people and would heal his dying son! Third of all,  we learn that Jesus is a God of compassion and love. He cared for and about the royal official and his dying son!  He cares about us and our families, too.  Fourth of all, we learn the importance of approaching Jesus with our needs and doing so with faith!

As we reflect upon this Gospel, I also suggest that we ask ourselves the following questions: If I were a resident of Jesus' native town, if Jesus entered my  home, would I be indifferent to Him? Would I want him to leave or, much worse, want to "throw him over a cliff", as the people had attempted to do when he preached in the synagogue he attended as a child?

As we reflect upon the royal official'  faith, however, I suggest we ask ourselves the following questions: How do I relate to God? Do I approach God with a humble faith?  Or am I simply curious, wanting to see "signs and wonders"?  Am I a person who has heard about Jesus and the work He has done and does, but simply remain distant from Him, not taking time to get to know Jesus and His works and His compassion for me and my needs and those I care about?

If you want to grow in your faith, I suggest spending time in prayer, personal and communal, liturgical and familial; picking up the Bible and reflecting on passages that resonate with you. Also helpful is reading books that nurture your hunger and thirst for God.

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