The Loving Father

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.

Monday, 4th week in lent

From earliest times, the church has chosen the Gospel of John to tell the story of the passion and death of Jesus on Good Friday. It also reads from this gospel on the days leading up to this great mystery, beginning Monday of the 4th week of lent and continuing till Holy Week.

John’s stories, and the people and places they recall,  cast a subtle light on his final story that reveals the Word made flesh. His account of the government official, a loving father who begs Jesus to come and heal his son, is not an isolated miracle unconnected to anything else. It’s a sign, the gospel says. Here in Cana in Galilee, water was changed into wine. The loving father seeking his son’s life is a sign of the Father whose love will change his Son’s death into life.

Jesus proclaims his relationship to his Father in lively encounters with his enemies throughout John’s gospel, but we will hear him express it often in the readings for these final days of lent.  They are  inseparable: “The Father and I are one.”  “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”

The father at Cana in Galilee is an image the Father of Jesus. He is no heartless father, nor is the Father of Jesus, whose love for his Son never wavers, but brings him to life.

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