March 23, 2020 – Monday 4th Week of Lent
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032320.cfm)
In our desperation and great difficulties, to whom and to where do we go?
Others because of confusion for what happened in their life would go to depression or to self-pity, or guilt. This sometimes would develop into unhealthy coping mechanisms that later on would progress into habit and forms of addiction. For instance, a drinking habit or alcoholism could have started through a painful or difficult memory in the past, a death of loved one or a financial crisis. Online game addiction or too much time spent on social media could have started through boredom at home and disconnection from intimate family relationship. A gambling or drug addiction could also have been caused by a traumatic experience or broken relationships.
Yet, there are also those who in their desperation and great need went to ask help from other people whom they believed could help them.
The very Gospel story that we have today conveys to us this kind of encounter. A non-believer who was royal official went to see Jesus. He was desperate and indeed was in great difficulty because of his dying son. As an official, somebody who had power over others, he must have already sought the best doctor he could find at that time, yet, there was no remedy. His son was not healed but dying.
As a father, this Royal Official, showed to Jesus how he loved so much his son. His son must have been everything to him and this was the very reason why he sought to see Jesus and begged him to come with him in order to heal his son.
For him, as a Royal Official, asking a Jesus to heal his son, was a humbling experience. In his desperation to seek healing for his son, he did not give up. He was hoping for a miracle even when his son was already at the point of death.
This tells us now to hope and not to give up. The encounter of this official with Jesus would tell us what kind of God we have. Through the humility of this man, Jesus saw and felt the desperation of this man. Jesus felt the love of this father to his dying son.
Jesus witnessed the life of prayer and the faith of this man despite being a non-believer himself. The official had that confidence to trust in Jesus’ words that his son will surely recover. “Go, your son lives!” – We were told in the Gospel that this man had faith in the word Jesus spoke to him.
But let us also remember, there is so much risk in believing. The royal official went home and risking everything by trusting the words of Jesus. However, it was also in that attitude that Jesus showed how his presence and words could bring healing and change life. True enough, the son was healed and the official became a believer of Jesus and all his family.
This is what is wonderful and powerful here. This is also the message for us today, for each of us who are in desperation and in great difficulty in whatever aspect that may be in our life. This is also the message for us as a community today, facing this global crisis caused by the pandemic corona virus that brought chills of fear and anxiety in us.
Thus, there are two aspects that we are particularly called for today.
First, we are called to pray and to humbly beg for God’s mercy. Our prayer just like the official, is not just of ourselves, for our own salvation, but also for others. Yes, we are called to pray for those who are infected by the virus, for those who have died and their families, and also for the doctors, nurses and other medical staff that are ministering the sick. We also pray for the medical experts tasked to create a vaccine that through them God’s healing will be revealed. We pray for them out of our true concern and love. Certainly, Jesus shall also feel that in us.
Second, we are called to believe. Like that official and father who believed in the presence and words of Jesus, we are also called to put our confidence completely in the Lord, meaning, to have faith in Jesus, in his presence among us and his words so that God’s wonder and healing power will also be unfolded in us.
May I invite you then now that we all stay in silence for few moments, to pray and to beg the Lord’s mercy and to believe that God will bring us healing. Let us all bow our heads and pray in silence (as you read this, please observe a 2-minute silent prayer).
Brothers and sisters, God shall protect and heal us and in faith, we will all pass this through. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR