After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”
Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there.
Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I am sure each of us can recall the experience of waking up after battling a cold and being able to breathe easier or no longer coughing. I always appreciate and value my health so much more at that moment. I can only begin to imagine what it would have been like to be this man who had been sick for 38 years. What freedom he must have experienced!
Sickness comes in many forms, and there are things that we might be carrying with us for just as long as the man in the Gospel. Yet, just as Jesus came to that man, Jesus comes to us and asks: “Do you want to be well?” with the desire to heal us and offer us that same freedom he gave the man.
What in my life needs healing? How would I respond to Jesus asking if I want to be well?
—Marcos Gonzales, a Jesuit scholastic of the California province, is completing his masters of social work at Loyola University Chicago and interning with the Cook County Juvenile Probation Department.
Lord, I come before you today in need of your healing hand.
In you all things are possible.
Hold my heart within yours, and renew my mind, body, and soul.