It is said that desperate situations require desperate measures. So often we read stories that illustrate this point and I think today’s Gospel is an example of this. The son of the local government official is very sick and just about all hope for his life has evaporated. However, the father of the child, a Roman, not a Jew, seems to believe that there is someone who might be able to help them – a fellow called Jesus of Nazareth. The fact that he is not Jewish tells us that this must be an action of last resort or else why would he be turning to a ‘holy man’ of a religion or sect that was technically not sanctioned under Roman Law? The man is desperate as his son is at death’s door and he will do anything, repeat anything, to try and save his life.

 

The reason this event is presented to us by John is that we are should all recognize the situation of this official very well as it is our position as regards eternal life. Each of us stands helpless before God with our sins and we know that there is nothing else we can do except to entrust ourselves to the mercy and forgiveness of God. The situation of the official ought to be repeating itself millions of times everyday as each person alive in this world realizes his or her sinfulness and is forced to resort to the desperate measure of placing his or her life totally in to the hands of God! John wants us to be reminded of this fact. He also wants to encourage us to do this as he tells us that Jesus saved the life of the official’s son that day.

 

The utter hopelessness of the plight of the sinful person is reflected in the despair in the hearts of the people for the life of the boy. Yet, there was no need to despair because Jesus was able to and did save his life. This is pertinent to our own lives in the fact that we often despair for our situation in life. How often do we read about the rise of suicide in our society? How often do we come across people despairing for their own lives in one way or another? Now we can be sure that there is an answer for them! However, the answer is not necessarily an easy one. As I said earlier, desperate times call for desperate measures.

 

How seriously do I take my own sinfulness? Am I prepared to take desperate measures to deal with the sins in my life once and for all?

 

Holy Spirit, you are the master of the desperate situation. You walk with us all as we seek to deal with sin in our lives. Help us to see the right course of action to take no matter how desperate it may seem to be. Grant us the grace to take that path without fear.