Complete Faith and Heading For Home
Modern medicine has changed life as we know it. Real progress has been made in dealing with major diseases, and research continues to promote health and longevity on many levels. And yet death is inevitable, and modern medicine is helpless once a person has died.
Through his miracles Jesus wanted to show he had power not only over human sickness but over death itself. Today’s Gospel story of the royal official shows a faith that at first was simply a belief that Jesus had extraordinary healing powers, that Jesus was some sort of super-physician. As he anxiously encountered Jesus in Cana, his faith deepened and he cried out to Jesus: "Sir, come down before my child dies." We can easily imagine the official’s anguish for his child’s life – and the strong faith it took for him to head home after Jesus assured him that his son will live! When he found out on his way home that his child was alive and well, he came to full faith in Jesus as the "life-giver"…and his whole household joined in his belief.
This complete faith is the kind of faith we are to cultivate this Lent in our prayer, penance and almsgiving. Jesus is not concerned merely with our temporal well-being (important, no doubt!), but especially wishes to one day share with us his own resurrection from the dead and happiness in heaven. That’s "Life" with a capital "L" – more than modern medicine can ever hope for!
We’re at the half-way point in our Lenten program, and we confidently look forward to celebrating Easter and Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. As disciples we have pondered this same message in years past, but this year our faith has been tested by a variety of natural disasters, world violence, an unstable economy, challenging developments in our Catholic Faith – and perhaps even some aches and pains of our own… As we figuratively "head home" to family and friends, Jesus invites us to join the royal official in a deeper faith in his Life and Resurrection. Truly God will create the "new heavens and a new earth" mentioned in the first reading from Isaiah…complete with rejoicing and happiness – and health – that lasts!
In the words of Psalm 30: "Lord, I put my trust in you; I shall be glad and rejoice in your mercy…" May our Lent be blessed.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.