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Geographical Faith

- Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

Today's Gospel reading speaks of the sign that Jesus worked in Cana of Galilee; however, it is not the sign we ordinarily associate with Cana.  In chapter two of St. John's Gospel, Jesus changes water into wine at a wedding feast.  This sign is considered the third in a series of manifestations or epiphanies of Jesus.  His mother guides us through the sign and proves herself to be a woman of faith, asking us to do all that her son commands.

This sign is followed by two encounters.  First Jesus encounters Nicodemus in the dead of night in Jerusalem.  Then Jesus encounters a woman at Jacob's well in Samaria in the middle of the day.  Both encounters encourage us to become disciples of the Lord.  Nicodemus struggles toward faith.  The woman becomes a missionary on Jesus' behalf.  Then Jesus returns to Cana of Galilee where he performs the second sign of the Gospel.  He heals the son of a Roman centurion.

First of all, we notice that Jesus is better accepted in Galilee than he is in Jerusalem.  This pattern will repeat itself throughout all the Gospels.  We might even say that the northern territories of Israel (Galilee) are lands of faith while the southern territories (Jerusalem) are lands of opposition. 

It must also be pointed out that two of those who accept Jesus for who he is are woman; namely, his mother and the woman at the well.  Not only do they accept Jesus, they both actively strive to bring others to the same level of faith.

Finally, there is a Roman centurion, an object of scorn and hatred.  He represents the occupying force, those who are oppressing the people of Israel.  Yet, he too is a figure of faith.

This past Sunday's Gospel challenged us to look at the world with eyes of faith, to set aside our prejudices and biases, and to see as God sees.  The beginning of the fourth Gospel has presented us with some unlikely heroes of faith as well as inklings of opposition.  The evangelist is writing in such a way as to open our hearts and our ears to hear the voice of God.  May we not be found wanting.

 

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