Gospel: Jn 4:43-54
When the two days were over, Jesus left for Galilee. Jesus himself said that no prophet is recognized in his own country. Yet the Galileans welcomed him when he arrived, because of all the things which he had done in Jerusalem during the Festival, and which they had seen. For they, too, had gone to the feast.
Jesus went back to Cana of Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. At Capernaum there was an official, whose son was ill, and when he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and asked him to come and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.
Jesus said, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe!“ The official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.“ And Jesus replied, “Go, your son lives!“
The man had faith in the word that Jesus spoke to him, and went his way. As he was approaching his house, his servants met him, and gave him the good news, “Your son has recovered!“ So he asked them at what hour the child began to recover, and they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday, at about one o’clock in the afternoon.“ And the father realized that that was the time when Jesus had told him, “Your son lives!“ And he became a believer, he and all his family.
Jesus performed this second miraculous sign when he returned from Judea to Galilee.
The 2nd sign
The miracle stories in the Gospel of John are signs, that is, beyond the visible event or act, there is a greater spiritual reality or truth that is being taught. Thus, the 1st sign, the miracle of the water being transformed into wine at Cana was a sign of the inauguration of the “New Covenant“ that Jesus was to bring about by his Passion.
The 2nd miracle, the cure of the son of the Official, was a sign of the extent of the redemption Jesus was to accomplish. Previous to this miracle we have Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus (representing the Jews) and the encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (representing the “lost tribes of Israel“). With this miracle Jesus makes it clear that salvation is not only for the children of Abraham but is extended to non-Jews. The Official in this Gospel episode was probably a pagan or Roman centurion. The story is very similar to the one we read in Matthew 8:5ff.
Moreover, co-relating this miracle with our first reading, we find the deeper significance of the cure of the son of the Official. Isaiah prophesies the defeat of death with the coming of the “new heavens and a new earth.“ Jesus will conquer sin, sickness, death! Oh how blest are we, too, who are non-Jews to be included in Christ Jesus’ work of salvation!