Tag Archives: miracle

Monday, 4th Week of Lent

 

Lent 1
Readings
From now to Holy Week our gospel readings at daily Mass are mostly from the Gospel of John, which also provides us with the story of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday and many of our readings during Easter time, as we celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection.

In John’s Gospel what Jesus says and does are continuing signs revealing God  through his Son.

“Your son will live,” Jesus tells the government official from Capernaum, who in today’s reading has come from Galilee to plead for his son who is near death. God wants life for us and so Jesus tells the official “your son will live,” and the deadly fever leaves him, even though he is far away.

Can we see in the father who pleads for his son’s life an image of the Father who wishes life for his only Son? Jesus affirms repeatedly his union with his Father. “The Father and I are one.” “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” It’s a theme we’ll hear often in these final days of lent. Jesus trusts in his Father’s love even in death.

God is not heartless before the mystery of death, our story says. He’s not less loving than the father from Galilee pleading for his son. The Father of Jesus, our Father, never wavers; he brings life to the world through his own Son.

John’s gospel was a favorite source for St. Paul of the Cross who sees our spiritual journey in the light of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We have another life before us, so we must mystically die to this one. We’re called to rest in the bosom of the Father.

“I recommend to you never to rest in the gifts or the spiritual joy such gifts God bring, but with one sweet glance of faith and love journey further to God in nakedness and poverty of spirit, losing all in him, not looking back on your suffering or on any spiritual understanding you have, but rest in naked faith and pure love on the bosom of God, completely clothed in Jesus Crucified.” (Letter 914)

O God, let me rest in you
even now, before my earthly journey’s done.
For you bring me life even in death.
May I live
through the merits of Jesus Christ, your Son. Amen.

Thursday, 3rd Week of Lent

Lent 1
Readings
Talk of devils and demons and miracles by God, so common in the bible, sounds strange to people today, especially in the western world. We think other forces are at work when something remarkable happens, as it did to the man in today’s gospel who couldn’t speak.(Luke 11,14-23) Must be a natural explanation–maybe the power of suggestion; whatever it was, we’ll discover it. We find it hard to see “the finger of God” causing miracles today.

Miracles of healing were among the signs that pointed out Jesus to his early hearers, but they weren’t the most important. After Pentecost, Peter describes Jesus of Nazareth as “a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonder and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know,” But the culmination of signs, the apostle says, is his own death and resurrection.

No one can explain this mystery, surpassing all others. Taking on himself all human sorrows– the sorrow of the mute, the deaf, the paralyzed, the possessed, the dead, the sinner far from God– Jesus gave himself into the hands of his heavenly Father on the altar of the cross. And he was raised up and gave his life-giving Spirit to the world.

Some deny this sign too. but it’s the great sign that we celebrate in this holy season.

“You have signs clearer than day that God loves you and he’s at work in you. Humble yourself, nothing as you are, and let your nothingness disappear in the Infinite All that is God. Then lose yourself and take your rest adoring the Most High in spirit and truth.” (Letter 954)

I see the great Sign you have given, O God,
the mystery of the death and resurrection of your Son.
Place it in my mind and heart,
let it guide my thoughts and draw me to love.

The Paralyzed Man

Let’s compare the paralyzed man at the pool at Bethesda, whom we hear about in today’s gospel, with the official in our previous story from John’s gospel. The official came to Jesus in Cana in Galilee looking for a cure for his son. Obviously, he was important. He knew how to get things done and came to get Jesus to do something for him. He’s a resourceful man.

The paralytic at Bethesda, on the other hand, seems utterly resourceless. For 38 years he’s come to a healing pool– archeologists identify its location near the present church of St. Anne in Jerusalem– and he can’t find a way into the water when it’s stirring. Paralyzed, too slow, he can’t even get anybody to help him. He doesn’t approach Jesus; Jesus approaches him, asking: “Do you want to be well?”

Instead of lowering him into the water, Jesus cures the paralyzed man directly and tells him to take up the mat he was lying on and walk. The man has no idea who cured him until Jesus tells him later in the temple area. He’s slow in more ways than one.

“God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in this world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God,” St. Paul tells the Corinthians.
Here’s one of the weak, the lowly, the nobodies God chooses, and he wont be the only one. But are we far from him?

Lord Jesus,
like the paralytic I wait for you,
not knowing when or how you will come.
But I wait, O Lord,
however long you may be.

The Man Nobody Helps

Jn 5:1-16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate

a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.

In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.

One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.

When Jesus saw him lying there

and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,

“Do you want to be well?”

The sick man answered him,

“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool

when the water is stirred up;

while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”

Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”

Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.’“
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.

Tuesday, 4th week of lent

It’s interesting to compare the paralyzed man at the pool at Bethesda with the official in the previous story from John’s gospel who came from Capernaum to Cana in Galilee seeking a cure for his son. Obviously, the official had standing in the community where he lived. He knew how to get things done and came intent on getting Jesus to do something for him. He’s a resourceful man.

The paralytic at Bethesda, on the other hand, seems utterly resourceless. For 38 years he’s come to a healing pool– archeologists identify its location near the present church of St.Anne in the city– and he can’t find a way to get into the water when it’s stirring. He’s paralyzed; too slow, and he doesn’t know how to get anybody to help him. He doesn’t approach Jesus, but Jesus approaches him.

“Do you want to be well?”

Instead of lowering him into the water, Jesus cures the paralyzed man directly and tells him to take up the mat he was lying on and walk.

Through it all, the man has no idea who cured him until Jesus makes himself known later in the temple area. He’s slow in more ways than one.

“God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in this world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God,” St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

Here’s one of the weak, the lowly, the nobodies God chooses, and he wont be the only one..

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.