"Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe"
A Reading from the Gospel According to St. John (JN 4:43-54)
At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place. When he 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. Now this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea.
The Gospel of the Lord
Today's Gospel is one of the multitude of accounts of Jesus' miracles. It's like so many of the miracles in John's Gospel where a desperate person comes to Jesus, with earnest faith in His ability to heal, and by that faith, they are granted a miracle for themselves or the ones they love. This one is slightly more astounding somehow, because Jesus doesn't even meet this man's son. Jesus brings him off the precipice of death, and He doesn't even need to see Him.
The Father returns to his slaves, and when he sees his son well, he needs further evidence that it was in fact Jesus who healed him. He asks 'when?'. And his slaves confirm the divine timing of his sons miracle.
Earlier in the passage Jesus provokes His followers with some of the most challenging words in the Gospel: Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.
Ouch Jesus. Ouch.
I don't know about you, but I'm that person. I need signs. I need wonders. I'd like to think I'm not entirely a Thomas, needing to feel His hands to believe; but I know I'm not walking entirely by faith. Sometimes I need some sight.
One of the graces of The Church is that God knew that we would in fact need a sign, and so She gifts us the sacraments as tangible witnesses to God's love and care for us. Right now however, when we are distanced from the sacraments, it's more difficult. We might need to look at little harder to see the miracles. So now, more than ever before, let's be emboldened by Christ's words to His followers. Let's dig a little deeper, and know that God doesn't even need to touch us to heal us.