Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Reading 1 Ez 47:1-9, 12
Gospel Jn 5:1-16
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?"
John's Gospel begins with the most beautiful prose: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God."
Today we again see the power of the Word. Just as Jesus told the royal official "go, your son will live" without seeing the boy or laying any hands or reciting any lengthy prayers so today he tells the lame man at Bethesda "Rise, take up your mat, and walk." No laying of hands, no lengthy supplications, just the power of the Word. Jesus is the Word.
No one would help this paralyzed man into the water for 38 years. 'I have my own problems' was probably the prevailing thought as the others rushed to the water but Jesus sought the man out. 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?" It's called compassion.
The lame man walked but the Pharisees remained paralyzed in their strict legalism about the Sabbath, just as the man born blind was now able to see but those the Pharisees remained blind to the presence of the Word in their midst.
These accounts from John's Gospel serve as a warning to us. Before we point our fingers at the Pharisees, let us look at ourselves, at that part of us that wants to keep God in our religious box; the God we make in our image and likeness thereby forgetting it's the other way around.
Lent calls us to recognize the Word of God in our midst.
The Season of Lent is a special time for us to slow down, look inward and make the necessary changes to truly become an Easter people.