The Gospel according to John (5:1-16)
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.
Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.’“
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.
Linda and I were blessed to visit the location of today’s Gospel recently, and while it isn’t really a pool anymore, there is a marker there, reminding everyone about what Jesus did at that location (I’m including that marker as the picture to accompany today’s reflection). Jesus was all about making others “well” in body, mind, and spirit.
Lent is all about our desire to answer Jesus’ question about “do we want to be well?” It’s not about the rules we follow – those are just sign posts along the way, but it is about yearning from our hearts to be made well, physically, emotionally, spiritually – to try to find that kind of harmony in our lives. We have the chance during this special season to re-orient our minds and hearts to be more in alignment with what God would want for us. Lent is the perfect opportunity to begin good habits, such as prayer, reflection, and doing acts of charity.
The most important thing, though, is to look at our Lenten efforts (which hopefully carry on beyond Lent ends) not as a competition with anyone else (“oh look how holy *I*’m being!”), but as a way for each of us to work on and deepen our own relationship with the God who created us. God is like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son – He never stops looking for us, yearning for *us* to come back to Him. Let us strive to do that in new and deeper ways now, and continue that journey with Him through Easter and beyond!
Action for the Day: No matter what you may have done (or not done) so far this Lent, choose something that you can do every day going forward, seeking to draw closer to God through that simple action!
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!