Daily Reflection – 3/24/2020
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.( John 5:1-16)
How somber this Lenten season has become. We entered Lent with all the good intentions of self-examination and a desire to improve our spiritual lives. By and large, most of us made the attempt and most of us continue to work at it.
Then came the pandemic! Then came the words of this Gospel and strikingly those that said: “Take up your mat and walk.”
No, I am not talking about healing (but that might occur). I am talking about the convergence of Lent and the pandemic superimposed with those words. Since this is a time which is turning us inward – literally and figuratively -, could it also be a time when that very inwardness leads us to truly examine our lives and to honestly address our lives with Him? To honestly examine our lives as to whether they are living out His words.
I don’t know about you but I see myself changing inwardly. Faced with the specter of so many deaths, so many ill, I am beginning to see life with a greater clarity. I am putting even greater value on those I love – family and friends. I am forgiving more. In spite of four decades in ministry, I am learning that selflessness and loving are not just aspirations but they are THE operative words of our life. I find myself listening to God more as I pray each day the names of people I love and those that have asked for prayer.
The circumstances of these days become powerful. I believe this is a time when Jesus is changing us. He is calling us into a new way of being, seeing, acting, speaking, thinking. We are being called to a new life. When we can stand up and accept that then the circumstances of today become more manageable. Our actions will not change the events of life but they will change us.
“Rise, take up your mat and walk.”
At this very moment, The Lord is approaching you and me with the same question: “Do you really want to be changed and to be transformed into my holiness?”
“Rise, take up your mat and walk.”
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, put within my heart a burning desire to be changed and transformed into your holiness”.
The Lord healed the paralytic, in part, to tell you that He sees you. He sees you in need, looks at you and calls you to rise and walk. Do not underestimate the importance of allowing Him to perform a healing in your life.