March 21st, 2023

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.


The Lenten season is that part of the church year when we each take stock of our own position before our Lord.  Like those who the Gospel records as laying near the pool of Bethesda (the blind, ill, lame and crippled), we, too, are called to see what keeps us from following Jesus as He wishes us to, and be open to being healed.

A couple of thoughts on this wonderful story of healing: first, notice that John records that Jesus knew about the man He was to heal – He knew that the man had been ill for a long time – 38 years!  We never are told the man’s name, but clearly, Jesus had seen him, perhaps on earlier visits to Jerusalem, but the time for his healing hadn’t come yet, until this particular day.  Jesus sees each of us, every day, and knows of the things that we need healing from.  But, are we open to that healing?

That brings me to the second point – notice the man’s response to Jesus’ direction to “rise”: he immediately gets up and walks.  Such faith is demonstrated in that simple act.  The man could have questioned whether or not he could be healed, but he did not.  He accepted the healing and acted right away.  No matter what may be keeping us from living out our lives as Jesus’ disciples, He longs to heal us, too.  And, no matter what may separate us from Him, when we claim that healing, we should act right away to thank Him for that gift, and then go and shine His light.

I would submit that we should also seek that same healing between each other.  If we have wronged another, let us be the first one to say “I’m sorry”.  If we are the one who was wronged, let us be the first one to say “I forgive you”.  That’s a very powerful way of showing that Jesus’ love is truly alive in our hearts.  Let each of us “rise” and carry Jesus’ love into the world today and every day.

Action for the Day:

Take time today to ponder on anything you need healing from, and ask Jesus to help you to seek that healing from Him.  Make plans to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent, and to shine Jesus’ light all the brighter when we come to the glory of Easter!

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