“What lies behind us and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
When Jesus came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.
Then he returned to Cana in Galilee,
where he had made the water wine.
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.
When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea,
he went to him and asked him to come down
and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”
The royal official said to him,
“Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.
While the man was on his way back,
his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him,
“The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.”
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,
“Your son will live,”
and he and his whole household came to believe…
The Gospel according to St. John 4:43-54
Something my mom used to say came to my mind as I meditated on the gospel reading for today. “Hope springs eternal.” She would tag on the line from the psalms as well, “Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” My mom knew what she was talking about, for she suffered all her life from a chronic disease that eventually took her life, yet her hope for healing never waned. The people that surrounded our LORD’s life as he lived among us were no different; there was always a sense of anticipation as Jesus came near to their reality. The crowds had heard or witnessed that this Jesus was more than meets the eye, and so they hoped!
It took great humility for that royal official to expose his need to this Jew; he could have ridiculed Jesus and the citizens of Israel for their belief in one God rather than the many Roman gods of his country. He could have ignored what the people were saying about Jesus. We don’t know if he had witnessed any of Jesus’ miracles, but he could have dismissed them as trickery and entertainment. He doesn’t do any of that; he boldly went to Jesus and requested out of the brokenness that only a parent can have for a child. Even when Jesus seems to rebuke the crowd, him included, for demanding signs and wonders, the royal official stays on point. Can you sense his urgency when he asks Jesus to come before his child dies? The royal official represents us, doesn’t he? We’ve all been desperate for hope from time to time. We’ve longed to be free from the sorrow we endure for others or ourselves. In God’s kingdom reality, nothing separates us from being in that crowd that day, for his story is our story. Jesus’ words and actions then are his words and actions now, and ever shall be! Hope does spring eternal!
The Church reminds us of this beautiful truth through the other Scripture readings for today’s Mass. Hear the Word of the LORD to Isaiah 65:17-21
Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create;
For I create you to be a joy
and a delight;
I will rejoice in you
and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.
Years ago, the truth of Isaiah’s words; the LORD constantly recreating and restoring what seems dead to life came to me during the early Spring as I was cleaning up winter from our garden. I removed some decaying leaves from the soil and discovered “Hope Springs Eternal.” There beneath the refuse of the past season’s death were the tender green shoots of our Crimean Snowdrops lifting their delicate white caps upward toward the early Spring sun. They seemed to say, “Hello again, beautiful world, I’ve returned to glorify the Creator!”
LORD, there are seasons in our lives when we feel short on hope. Help us see beyond the present moment that threatens to steal our joy by eroding our hope in you, the God of Creation and Recreation. We look at the whole scheme of things happening to us or around us, and we wonder if you are still the LORD of the impossible. We bring our families to you and humbly ask you to recreate us into the fullness of life with you. We offer ourselves and our besetting sins that decay and destroy hope in you. We bring our world to you and urgently ask that you heal the unrest in war-torn countries before there is any more death.
We ask this in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, it is now, and ever shall be, world without end.