Second Sign at Cana
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Association of Catholic Priests
2020 23 March, 2020. Monday of Week 4 of Lent
The faith of a Roman officer
As Isaiah looks forward to a new heaven and a new earth, we too look forward to a life beyond the here and now. So Jesus gave hope to the Roman offficer at Capernaum, who begged for help when his son was nearly dead. He gave him a promise, ‘Go home. Your son will live.’ This pagan centurion trusted what Jesus said and set off for home, sure that the lad would recover. Do we share this trust that the Lord can take care of us too? Do we know that he loves us, whatever our background or status? Can we believe that whatever may happen, we are safe in God’s hands? Let us today repeat the officer’s prayer of faith: “Yes, Lord, I believe.”
Jesus really can work miracles, now no less than then. After taking the initiative of coming to Jesus, the centurion believed his son would recover. The Gospel notes this as the second sign given by Jesus. The first sign was the turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2:11). These are signs of new life and joy, promises that the old will be swept away and the pains of the past be remembered no more. They point to a new creation beyond the reach of death. You have changed my mourning into dancing. O Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
Many people asked Jesus for help as he went around the villages, teaching. But the centurion was particularly insistent, and in response to his perseverance, Jesus grants his request, though in an unexpected way. He did not go to the boy’s sick-bed but simply said, “your son will live.” The centurion had to take the word of Jesus and he did just that. The Lord’s word was enough, and on the way home he found that it was true.
We may often feel that the Lord is ignoring our prayer, or does not answer as we expected. If that happens, we need to persevere like the man in the gospel. Jesus really does respond to prayer, in one way or another. We must just take him at his word and let his promise be enough for us.
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