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.
Have you ever done a good deed in hopes that someone is watching? I’m guilty of this – I’m not proud of it, but it reminds of when I decide I want to put money into a tip jar at Scooters, I wait until the worker turns around so they can see me leave the money. Shouldn’t I be content with offering the gratuity because I know they’re not exactly getting paid in gold bricks with their hourly wage?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a man and then disappears into a crowd. He doesn’t make it a production, a grand announcement, and even more amazing is the man simply walks away. When Jesus tracks him down, he again keeps it low key, offering only instructions on how he can remain healthy. The next time I have the opportunity to complete a good deed, I want to remember this story, and simply fade into the background to personally reflect on the goodness I hope the recipient experienced and not need acknowledgement. The prayer for generosity is the perfect antidote for the illness of acknowledgement.
—Joe Pick is the Director of Enrollment at Creighton Prep.
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to seek reward, except that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.
–St. Ignatius of Loyola
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