The WORD in Other Words by Fr Louie Punzalan SVD (Philippines)
Monday Week 4 Lent
John 4, 43-54
There is no dearth of good doctors and hospitals in the Philippines but the best doctor will always be God. Today‘s gospel is another medical story among numerous healing stories in the Bible. This is a short but extremely important story.
It must have been the harshest tragedy for any parent to watch his child slowly fade away and on the brink of death any moment. As the old saying goes, “No parent should have to bury a child … No father or mother should have to bury a son or a daughter. It is not in the natural order of things.”
But fate has its own way of testing anyone. There are parents who are terribly broken-hearted because breath and joy have been snatched and replaced with a pain so strong that the soul is lost in the grief. The world is crushed beyond repair. The child is gone. The child is taken away by death.
Today‘s gospel story portrays Jesus‘ gift of life to a dying boy following the distressed plea of the father. The story reminds us of a similar one where Jesus restored the life of Lazarus after the desperate pleas of his two sisters.
These two stories call our attention to the power of intercessory prayer. We pray not only for ourselves but also on behalf of others who need our prayers.
In this healing story of the royal official’s son, there are three important characters: the healer, the healed and the petitioner. God is only a prayer away from us. He answers all our needs.