“The joy of the Lord must be your strength.” The fourth week of Lent is marked by the importance of joy in the lives of the faithful. Today’s Gospel bears witness to Jesus’ unique ability to transform sorrow into joy. He does this by healing – not just the physically ill, but those who are afflicted in spirit. Joy returns to the heart when wholeness is restored. Most of us suffer brokenness that goes much deeper than what can be seen on the surface of our lives. It is a hidden brokenness, and we are unsure to whom we ought to expose it. If by exposing it we can receive healing, we can have the courage to do so. If we lose hope in the possibility of being healed, we carry around that brokenness as bitterness.
Jesus is the only true healer of the soul. No other man, woman, or child can bring us the healing that leads to wholeness and true joy. May the Good Doctor visit us again this Lent and bring healing to all hearts.
For here he heals the father who was sick in mind no less than the son in order to persuade us to listen to him, not because of his miracles but because of his teaching. Miracles are not for the faithful but for the unbelieving and for people who are not as knowledgeable about the faith.1
So what are we taught by these things? We are taught not to wait for miracles or to seek promises of the power of God. I see a lot of people, even now, who become more pious when, during the sufferings of a child or the sickness of a wife, they see any sign of relief. And yet, even if their child or wife did not obtain that relief, they still should persist in giving thanks and in glorifying God. Because right-minded servants and those who love their Master as they ought should run to him not only when they are pardoned but also when chastised. For this too also shows the tender care of God, since “those whom the Lord loves he also chastens.”2
GREGORY THE GREAT:
We do not respect in people their nature, made in God’s image, but their riches and reputation. When we consider what is important about them we scarcely regard what they are inwardly. We pay attention to what is physically displeasing about them and neglect to consider what they are. Our Redeemer, to show us that the things human beings regard highly are displeasing to the saints and that we are not to be displeased by what humans consider displeasing, refused to go to the ruler’s son but was ready to go to the centurion’s servant.…
You see that one came from heaven who was not reluctant to hurry to a servant on earth, and yet we who are of the earth refuse to be humbled on earth.3
The new heavens and new earth are cause for rejoicing and for confessing the true God, because eternal amnesia follows on the former tribulations; this means that those who live therein will never be mindful of idols and previous errors but will pass from darkness into light for the enjoyment of eternal beatitude. For they will forget the former evils, not by having their memories destroyed but by receiving an inheritance of goods, in accordance with what is written: “On the day of good rewards, there will be no memory of evils,” and again: “an affliction of one hour destroys the memory of pleasures.” Thus, to the extent that the former desires were born in tribulation, members of the new creation will never enjoy them in the wayward manner of the Epicureans.COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 18.13. Elliott, M. W. (Ed.). (2007). Isaiah 40–66 (p. 273). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.[/note]
- HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 35.2. Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 174). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 35.3. Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 174). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- FORTY GOSPEL HOMILIES 28. Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 175). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.