Grace to you!
There is a dramatic shift in the message of Lent starting today, Monday of the fourth week of Lent. The change is from the call to conversion to the focus on the study about Jesus as the Christ. In other words, the focus of Lent moves from an ethical message to dogma—Christology.
Lent is a time for conversion. Yes! However, Lent loses its core when it fails to introduce us to the person of Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ. It is so because this claim is central to our faith as Christians.
Who is Jesus? The Gospel of John 4:43-54 shows he is the fulfillment of the Old Testament revelations.
Jesus came to Galilee. According to Josephus, the most renowned historian of the ancient period, Galilee was one of the most strategically located cities in Isreal at the time. It was surrounded by over two hundred cities, a kind of cosmopolitan area, where people are open to new and fresh ideas. To be welcomed in Galilee was to be launched properly to other parts of Israel. Jesus chose to appear in Galilee.
His first action, which the Gospel of John called the second sign, was to heal a Royal Official's son. He did so by simply saying, "You may go. Your son will live" (Jn 4:50). His words alone spoken from a distance brought healing to the sick in his home. Whereas the Royal Official wanted a more traditional, dramatic visit to his house for Jesus to perform a healing ritual over the son.
It's important to understand that healers during the time of Jesus worked by potions and elaborate rituals upon the sick. It was a common belief that healing wouldn't take place unless there were a touch, a potion, and some effective instrument, or rituals performed on the sick. It was, therefore, groundbreaking for Jesus to utter a word from a distance and have the Royal Official's son healed. It's comparable to creating things out of nothing, and for the Jew, only God creates ex-nihilo(out of nothing).
Here you have it: Jesus of Nazareth is the one who, like his Father, says a word and healing takes place. Only God, the Son of God, can do this.
As we journey through the last two weeks of Lent, we shall continue to explore the identity of Jesus as the Christ. The Lenten call to conversion is for the renewal and rebuilding that happens through a relationship with Jesus, the Son of God. It is this that is the essence of the season.
Did you know that opening your heart to Christ's word could bring the much-needed healing for you and your loved ones? God sends forth his Word and heals us (Ps 107:20). Also, by Jesus' wounds, you are healed (Is 53:5; 1 pet 2:24; Is 53:5).
Pray: Lord, say a word and I will be healed. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
[Monday, Lent, Week 4: Is 65:17-21 Jn 4:43-54]
Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth and inspiration. They are designed for a general audience. They may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons.