Daily Reflection – 3/21/2023
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)
That question was asked in Bethesda, but it is still being asked today.
Do You Want To Be Well?
Are you so numbed by the violence of the world that you no longer react? Are you carrying a personal tragedy whose weight is getting heavier and heavier? Do you just wish that someone or something would happen in your life to change it? To refresh it? To make you feel alive again.
You’re not alone.
Jesus is still asking you – asking all of us – that question. But until we can answer the question “Do you want to be well?” honestly, we are stuck on the mat.
We are all the man on the mat, we are all at various times, left behind – or at least it feels that way. We are all pretty used to our mat, even if we hate our mat.
The first essential step is the desire for change. If we desire that change in our lives, we must be aware of our true inner condition.
That means truthfully admitting that we are spiritually dry. Or that we have rote actions and responses that make us look like a Christian. We must be ready not to answer the question of whether we attend Church but rather that the Church is in us.
We can’t ask to be forgiven if we have not forgiven. We can’t ask to be filled with his love if we are not responding in love.
Jesus wants our response to be filled with thirst and enthusiasm, “He wants us to say, “Yes, Jesus, I trust in you!” In each miracle, Jesus did not cure merely a physical paralysis but a spiritual one, and he does it in such a way that he wants us, in faith, to trust in his healing power and cooperate, however little, in the miracle. He wants us to participate in our own healing and set out more fully on the journey of faith.
It’s critical that this Lent to ask ourselves whether we are advancing in His Living Water, whether we’re allowing Jesus to raise within us whatever is dead. Jesus wants to cure us of our spiritual stagnation! But he wants us to want to be cured!
Today, let’s begin walking with the Lord through our souls and heal our paralysis.
What is waiting for us beyond our paralysis is truly amazing.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, I look to you with faith, knowing that you are the Lord of all. I hope in your boundless mercy since without you I can do nothing. I want to love as you deserve, so I come to you in this prayer to console you and bring you the joy of this moment together. Help me to be humble of heart so you will heal me.
That is a good question to ask ourselves as we travel through Lent. Do we have any idea what God’s will is for our lives? Are we learning to listen to Him a little more each day, through an active prayer and sacramental life? If we have not grown very much closer to God during this Lenten season, then perhaps today’s readings could be taken as a reminder to seek the Lord in prayer and listen for Him in periods of silence throughout our day. Self-will is a good thing, but God’s will is even better.