By Faith, Not by Miracles

John 4: 43-54
Is 65:17-21 / Ps 30:2,4-6,11-13

Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will not believe.
(John 4:48)

All it took was for him to believe,
As doubting would be an obstacle;
Indeed the official’s son would live,
Faith is the way to God’s miracle.

After the two days, He left for Galilee. (Now Jesus Himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When He arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed Him. They had seen all that He had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there. Once more He visited Cana in Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to Him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus replied, “Go, your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy would live. He asked them when his son began to recover. They said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed. This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee. (John 4:43-54)

Reflection

It seems at first glance that Jesus was admonishing the royal official. This, however, was not the case. Our Lord was merely pointing out the general attitude of the Jews in Galilee, as when He had earlier said, “a prophet has no honor in his own country.” (Mk.6:4) Unlike the Samaritans and the Gentiles who were willing to take Him at His word as the Messiah, the Jews were not. Instead they kept asking for more proof through signs and miracles. Being omniscient, Jesus already knew the condition of their hearts, even as far back as their ancestors who came from Egypt. In the Book of Numbers, God said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?” (Num.14:11)

God is pleased when we pray for someone who is sick, and we sincerely believe in His Divine Mercy. When Bro. Schwarz (my pet name for him) texted me that he rushed his wife Charlene to a hospital’s CCU for irregular heartbeat, asking for prayers yesterday morning, it was timely because we were just starting our Lenten recollection. Our community prayed together, invoking God’s mercy for our sister’s healing and full recovery. After a few hours, we received the good news that Charlene’s condition had improved and she might be able to go home today or tomorrow. God is so good!

We do not ask God for a miracle in order to believe. We simply believe in His mercy. Faith that depends on miracles is shallow and superficial, and is what we might call an external kind of faith. The faith that God wants us to have is an internal one that is not influenced by what our senses perceive. True faith springs from the hunger of one’s heart to experience God’s love. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, stirring the longing of our soul, after it has been nourished by the Word of God. Yes, faith comes after hearing and reading the precious messages of our Lord in Holy Scriptures. During this Lenten season, let us spend more time reading the Bible, that we may fully understand that God wants to heal our souls more than our physical ailments.

Thank You, Lord for making us realize that it is not so much Your miracles that change our hearts, but the living truth of Your Divine Mercy, as Jesus has manifested in the Gospel, and why He came for our salvation. Amen.

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