Day 20: Monday of 3rd week of Lent

Altar at Church in Cana depicting the first miracle of Jesus

FAITH IN JESUS

 

  1. Document: Holy Scripture Readings

1.1.  First Reading: The Second Book of Kings 5: 1-15ab

1.2.  Gospel Reading: The Gospel of St Luke 4: 24-30

1.3.  Simple Comment: The leper Naaman is persuaded by lowly persons to submit himself to the command of Elisha to bathe himself in the lowly Jordan river and he gets cured from his terrible malady. Instead in the Gospel Jesus’ humble origins would not persuade his own people of Nazareth to believe in his words and so no cure was experienced by them. The ways of the Almighty are unassuming; his greatness is found in the day-to-day, ordinary, tram-tram circumstances of life.

 

  1. Monument: Cana

2.1.  We know Cana more for the miraculous change of water into wine during a wedding feast which Jesus and his mother attended. The evangelist John remarks that this was the first sign Jesus performed. By sign he meant an event that points to the coming of the messianic times which the Old Testament predicted will be accompanied by miracles. Jesus is thus acclaimed by the evangelist as the long awaited Messiah.

2.2.  Less known by us, the same evangelist narrates the second sign which occurred in Cana as well. It is the cure of the royal official’s child who lay ill in Capernaum. Jesus assured this Gentile that his son would recover and as predicted, the official, on returning to Capernaum, found his son was cured – just at the hour Jesus gave his assurance.

2.3.  Cana is the hometown of Nathaniel [later known as Bartholomew] who would dare Andrew whether anything good can come from such a lowly place like Nazareth. But history proves him wrong with a Mary, a Joseph and the Jesus of Nazareth.

 

 

  1. Lenten Reflection

3.1.  Unassumingly the town of Cana witnessed the first two signs worked by Jesus. These signs were meant (seven in all according to the fourth Gospel) to lead people to God through listening and obeying what God commands through Jesus’ words. In fact, we find this to be true in these two miracles. The mother of Jesus told the servants of the wedding feast to do as Jesus commanded them and, when they did obey his word, the miraculous change of water to wine happened. So too, when the royal official obeyed Jesus’ assuring words and returned home, he experienced the miraculous cure of his son. In both events, the narrations ended with a similar phrase: “his disciples believed in him” and “he and his whole household thereupon became believers.”

3.2.  What a difference with the townsfolk of Nazareth. Jesus could not work signs in his very own town not because of any stark contrast between his town and Cana, but because of a dumbfounding unbelief of his people. For those who believe, no proof is needed; for those who do not believe, no proof is heeded.

 

Contemporary Filipino Question: We as a people have long been wanting for a change in our country’s circumstances. For this, we have been praying, and even insisting, to God that He work some miracle to our nation. Sadly, we form part of that people whom Jesus addressed in today’s Gospel: “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you do not believe.” What more signs and wonders are we looking for when so many have actually occurred in our own times: Ninoy’s martyrdom, a bloodless revolution, an inflow of OFW hard-earned money that keeps our economy afloat! But if we do not have a change of heart, if we do not eradicate excessive greed and corruption, if we do not look after the poor and the oppressed, if we do not do the right sacrifice and holocaust God wants, our longing will remain forever frustrated.