Scripture: Lectionary 245. Isaiah 65:17-21. Psalm 30:2-4.5-6.11-13.  John

Monday's Readings

Dionysius of Alexandria corrected a tendency among church leaders who were
trying to read the Book of Revelation literally. They missed the world of
symbolism and metaphor which can enter into mysteries that the literal
scholar is troubled by not fully understanding the intention of the author.
Today as on the past three Sundays we continue a narrative from John's
Gospel that refers to the signs that Jesus worked.  Signs are symbols of
something deeper that is happening than what appears on the surface.  John
gives us seven signs in the Book of Signs and two of them take place in
Cana of Galilee. Today we meet Jesus speaking with a royal official from
the area who wants Jesus to heal his son of the illness he has contracted.
This gives Jesus an opportunity for showing his second sign after the
changing of water into wine at Cana.  The official begins to relate to
Jesus on the deeper level of faith and the result is that while he is
returning home, he discovers his son has been cured.  This leads him to
invite successfully all the members of his extended family. The sign of
Jesus which literally is a miracle is meant for the deeper reality of
bringing faith to the person who then begins to believe in Jesus.  All of
these signs are contained in the first twelve chapters of John, hence, it
is called the Book of Signs.

At Cana the first sign was an anticipation of Jesus' hour. Hour is another
symbolic word that means Jesus's passion, death and resurrection.  The
second sign at Cana is similar to what happened in the first. We read there
in chapter 2:11: "Jesus performed the first of his signs (semeion) at Cana
in Galilee. Thus did he reveal his glory, and his disciples believed in
him."  And at the end of the fourth chapter we read: "He (the royal
official) and his whole household thereupon became believers.  This was the
second sign that Jesus performed on returning from Judea to Galille." (John

During this season of Lent we are led to appreciate the seven signs of the
sacraments. We especially focus on the sacrament of Baptism, the sacrament
of Reconciliation, and always on the sacrament of the Eucharist. We go
beyond what these signs show us in the elements used: words, water, bread,
and wine. We are led like the disciples and the royal officer and his
family to believe in the very person of Jesus with whole heart, mind, and
soul.  By strengthening our belief the good that results is seen in our
interaction with others and in our effectiveness in growing in holiness. In
faith we look beyond what we see. The sacramental signs help us to relive
the episodes of John's Gospel for we are led to believe and trust more
deeply in the person of Jesus and give to him our total and self-effacing
love. We learn what Jesus can do for us when we are like the royal
official.  Amen.