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Cure on a Sabbath

Gospel Reading: Jn 5:1-16
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. 3In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. 5One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6When 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?” 7The 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.” 8Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” 9Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath. 10So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” 11He answered them, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’ ” 12They asked him, “Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” 13The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. 14After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, “Look, you are well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. 16Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.

Compassion is what this long-time (38 years!) sick man easily elicits in us. On the one hand, the supposed remedy is just a couple of steps away from him; on the other hand, he is utterly powerless as he is not as strong as the others to reach the pool first when it is stirred.

In the midst of this hopeless situation, Jesus comes, not to race him swiftly into the pool, because this is not necessary, as Jesus himself has the power to heal. And so it happens. We can just imagine the sick man’s joy after he is healed.

There are times, indeed, when—because of either a long-time sickness or a very difficult situation—we feel so helpless and simply wallow in our misery. Then, one day, by some new medicine or by the sacrament of the sick, we are completely healed. This happened to an aunt of mine who was dying but was completely healed after receiving the last sacraments.

Jesus is at work even now. Let us trust his healing power and call upon him.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.