“Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will live.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living.” (John 4:50-51)
“No matter what they tell you, no matter what they do, no matter what they teach you, what you believe is true, and that would keep you safe and strong and sheltered from the storm.” These lines from one of my favourite songs of all time suddenly came alive to me as I reflected on today’s Gospel passage. There was an official whose son was ill. He went to Jesus to beg him to come down and heal his son because he was at the point of death. Surprisingly, the same Jesus who was willing to go to the Centurion’s house was not willing to go with the official to his house. Jesus seemed to even test this man’s faith by saying: “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The official simply said: “Sir come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him: “Go, your son will live.” At this point, the man did not push further. Why? He believed Jesus completely. And upon reaching his home, he found his son fully recovered.
I once read somewhere, “Faith is the evidence of things not seen and the reward of faith is to see those things you believe.” Whatever you believe becomes your reality. As the song puts it, no matter what they say, your beliefs are always true. Maybe it is time to re-examine your beliefs. Positive beliefs are called “hopes, dreams, goals, visions.” While our negative beliefs are called “fears, anxieties or worries.” Don’t die before your time! Drop your fears, forget what anyone has to say, no matter what your situation may be right now, have a positive look at it again. Stop complaining and look out for the silver lining in your cloud. Start thanking God instead, start expecting better. COVID-19 is here, but Jesus is still here. Churches are closed but Heaven hasn’t stopped attending to mankind. It is reasonable to fear and exercise caution, but it is even more reasonable to pray and hope. The words of Jesus “ask and you will receive…” are still true. (Matthew 7:7)
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, help me understand I can change my reality by changing my mind. Amen.
Stop Complaining; Every Challenge is an Opportunity
“When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.’” (John 5:6-7)
There are three categories of people in this world; thinkers, talkers and doers. Thinkers understand the problem, talkers broadcast the problem but only doers apply solutions to eliminate the problem. The man in today’s Gospel passage was obviously a talker. Talkers don’t listen; they just want to be heard; they are professional complainers! Jesus asked this man a simple question: “Do you want to be healed?” (A simple yes or no question.) He burst into complaints. Are you like this man? How often do you narrate your problems to the world? Maybe it is time you repent, maybe it is time you stopped complaining and start looking at Jesus standing in front of you. Yes, you may have suffered for long but all that history is unnecessary.
This man had so much faith in the curative power of the pool of Bethzatha when it is stirred. That this water could heal when stirred shows the power of God as Ezekiel testifies in today’s first reading. Have you concluded that there is only one type of solution to your problem? Jesus saw a lot of people there but his attention was drawn to this man because he had been there for a very long time. The truth is that even our problems are “blessings” in disguise. Stop complaining, there is still a brighter side to your situation. After Jesus had cured this man, Jesus said something quite striking to him: “See you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” John 5:14. What could be worse than suffering from sickness for 38 years? Living in sin! There are a lot of scary information out there supposedly coming from experts concerning COVID-19. If God wishes to cleanse humanity once again, who are we to question Him? Why not run into Noah’s ark today! Repent.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, increase my hatred for sin. Amen. Bible Study: Ezekiel 47:1-12, Psalm 46 and John 5:1-16).
Powerful Things Happen when we Say “YES” to God
“And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:38)
Today is March 25. It is exactly 9 months before Christmas. On this day, Mary gave her consent, her fiat, her “I do” to God’s Divine Proposal. On this day, that great miracle happened; through the powerful overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, the baby Jesus, the word of God, became flesh right inside Mary’s womb. Today’s feast is a reminder that God does not force his way in our lives. He works in us only with our consent. As one Saint said, God created us without our consent but He will not save us without our consent. We always have a choice either to say “Yes” or “No” to God’s plans for our lives.
Great things happen when we allow God have His way in our lives. The book of Hebrews says: “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, burnt offerings and sin offerings you take no pleasure but Behold, I have come to do your will.” Nothing makes God more pleased as seeing His children doing His will. “You shall conceive in your womb and bear a Son and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” How happy God must have been when Mary said “Let it be done!” Mary’s acceptance became the beginning of the fulfilment of God’s promises to the people of Israel which the all prophets spoke about.
Mary is that Virgin Isaiah spoke of as a sign to the people of Israel that God has finally sent them the Saviour they have been expecting. Yet, God requested for her consent. God wants to do great and wonderful things through you but He needs you to say “Yes.” Yes to righteousness, yes to the will of God. Another lesson we learn today is that we are not merely products of biology. God knew us before we were formed in our mothers’ womb. Respect life. Respect the unborn. Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, use me like Mary to bring your word to life. Amen. Bible Study: Isaiah 7:10-14,8:10, Psalm 40, Hebrews 10:4-10 and Luke 1:26-38).