MONDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT
READ: JOHN 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.
Each of us have things that we deeply dislike: certain foods, sports teams, pet peeves. But there is one thing that the majority of us share in common. We dislike waiting. We hate waiting in doctors' offices. We hate traffic. We hate waiting in line at the BMV, in the drive through, at the amusement park. We want what we want when we want it.
And today's reading brings to the forefront another thing that we dislike waiting for--the answer to our prayers. How? Jesus spoke the words, "You may go; your son will live" after the royal official, in sincerity and in great need, begged that Jesus might heal his son. And then we read, "The man believed what Jesus said to him". He believed that Jesus would answer his prayer. He believed that what Jesus said to him would be accomplished. But then he had to wait. The distance between Cana and Capernaum is 16 miles. Can you imagine what that 16 miles was like for for the royal official?
Yes. You can. Because all of us, like the royal official, have prayers that we bring to Jesus in sincerity and in great need. For some of us, that prayer is that our child would come back to the Church. For some of us, that prayer is for freedom from anxiety. For some of us, that prayer is for healing in our marriage. We bring to Him the people in our lives who are sick, who are hurting, who have hurt us. We bring those situations of greatest distress and greatest longing. And then we wait. For many of us, we have brought these needs to the Lord, but we are still waiting to see them answered. And often, this is the hardest thing for us to do, to trust God's timing, to trust that He will answer our prayer when there seems to be no evidence that He is working.
Does God answer every prayer? Yes. Does He answer every prayer in the way that we would and in the timing we desire? No. So this is where our faith comes in. Hebrews 11:1 says that "Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see." Bishop Robert Barron says that, "Faith is a straining ahead toward those things that are, at best, dimly glimpsed." Faith is trusting in God's timing. And faith is trusting that God will answer our prayers in accordance with His will, which is always for our best good, even when we don't see how it could be for our best good. Today, let us renew our trust and let us take Jesus at His word, His promise, that He will answer our prayers--in His way, in conformity with His will, in His timing. Let it be said of us, even in the waiting, "The man (or woman) believed what Jesus said to him".
What are those prayers that you bring to Jesus in sincerity and great need?
Are you struggling to trust Jesus' word that He will answer your prayer?
Why do we need humility to trust that Jesus will answer our prayers in His way and in His timing?
How are you tempted to think that you know better than God and how does that relate to our message today?
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear and did not let my enemies rejoice over me. O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world; you preserved me from among those going down into the pit. Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime, his good will. At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing. "Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me; O LORD, be my helper." You changed my mourning into dancing; O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks. R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
What will you take from your prayer time today? Where do you need to trust Jesus more?
For more, check out this blog post by Bishop Robert Barron. It was written during Advent, but the message still applies for Lent!