Readings: Isaiah 65:17-21, Ps. 30:2,4-6,11-13, John 4:43-54

“Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honour in his own country. So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him.” (John 4:44-45)

Having been rejected in his hometown (Nazareth), Jesus visited Cana in Galilee, where he performed his first miracle at a wedding feast. Jesus’ statement that a prophet is never appreciated in his own country proved true when he received a warm welcome from the Galileans. While Jesus’ townsmen angrily took him to a hill, intending to throw him down headlong (for telling them the truth), the Galileans celebrated his arrival in their town. While he could not work many miracles in Nazareth due to their unbelief, the Galileans trooped out to meet him with their problems and with high hopes of receiving miracles. This brings us to today’s lessons:

1. Your Lack of Faith is the Problem, Not Your Church: I have heard many say, “If your church does not change your situation, change your church.” Why do you jump from church to church for miracles or answers? Does it occur to you that many people have received great miracles in the same church you left? The Galileans received miracles not because of their location but because of their deep-seated faith. Jesus said to the woman at the well: “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.” (John 4:23). It is not about your location. Are you worshipping God in spirit and truth?

2. Shake the Dust from Your Feet and Go: While instructing the disciples he sent out to preach, Jesus said: “If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.” (Matthew 10:13-14). Jesus applied this principle when he left Nazareth peacefully and went to Cana. If you live with people who do not appreciate your worth, don’t fight them; move somewhere else. Jesus says: “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 10:23).

3. After You Have Prayed, What Follows Next? A Roman Court official whose son was sick met Jesus, pleading that Jesus would go with him to heal his son. Jesus told him, "Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The official did not understand what Jesus meant by “unless you see signs.” He prayed even louder: “Sir, please come down before my child dies.” Jesus assured him: “Go; your son will live.” Without further questions, “the official believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way.” When the priest says, “Go forth, the Mass is ended”, consider these words as coming from Jesus’ lips. Go home joyful, hopeful and happy. Go with positive expectations.

The behaviour of this official is similar to that of Hannah, who believed in the word of the prophet Eli. In 1 Samuel 1:17-18, we read: “Eli answered: ‘Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have made to him.’ And she said, ‘Let your maidservant find favour in your eyes.’ Then the woman went her way and ate, and her countenance was no longer sad.” Just as the official did not doubt Jesus and eventually received his miracle, Hannah went home happy and ate, and Eli's words came to pass. Remember that Jesus taught us: “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22). Don’t rise from prayer moody, confused or worried; don’t behave like people who brought heavy burdens for Jesus to examine, only for them to pick up the burdens again after meeting with Jesus.

4. God Answers Prayer Even Without Acrobatic Display: Some people say the Mass is boring because it does not involve jumping up and down, stamping one’s feet on the floor, speaking in tongues and “fire-packed” prayers (everybody shouting at the top of their voice in spontaneous prayer). Naaman was expecting Elisha to meet him, dance around and wave around the leprous spot. Like this official, many Christians believe that unless there is shouting, rolling on the floor, hitting the microphone (and other kinds of acrobatic displays), the prayers said during the Mass will not work. Just have faith. Believe in God. He will do it for you.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, increase my faith. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of the 4th week of Lent. Bible Study: Isaiah 65:17-21, Ps. 30:2, 4-6,11-13, John 4:43-54).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu