At that time: There was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.
Sermon of St Gregory, Pope.
My brethren, the passage from the Holy Gospel, which ye have just now heard, standeth in need of no explanation. But lest I should seem to pass over the same in idle silence, I will say somewhat thereon, rather by way of exhortation than of explanation. Indeed, there seemeth to me only point which calleth for explanation, and that point is this: Wherefore was it that when the nobleman went unto the Lord, and besought him that he would come down and heal his son, Jesus said unto him: Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe? The very fact that he had come to beseech Christ to heal his son, putteth it beyond all doubt that this nobleman believed; if he had not believed him to be a saviour, he would not have asked him to save his son. Wherefore then said Jesus unto him: Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe: since he was one who had not seen, and yet had believed?
But bethink you what was his prayer, and then shall ye understand clearly wherein his faith was shaky. He besought him that he would come down and heal his son. He asked for the bodily presence of him who is spiritually always present everywhere. Then he did not believe in Christ sufficiently, for he thought that Christ could not heal unless he were bodily present. Had his faith been perfect, he would doubtless have known that God is everywhere.
His was therefore an imperfect faith, in attributing healing virtue not to Christ’s majesty, but to his bodily presence. Thus it was that his faith was still unsound, even while he was asking for his son’s health. For, though he believed concerning him unto whom he came that he was mighty to save, yet he thought also that at that moment he was absent from his dying child. But the Lord, being asked to go, shewed that, wherever he is called on, he is there; and he, by whose simple act of will all things were created, gave health by his simple command.