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.
Does it seem odd that the crowd barely reacts to Jesus’ miracle? Jesus cures the man, yet the crowd is so enraged because he broke Sabbath law they do not notice.
However, Jesus didn’t intend for this miracle to be noticed. If he did, why didn’t He heal everyone at the pool? Why didn’t He make a proclamation instead of disappearing?
Jesus is solely focused on this one man. Notice, how Jesus returns to the temple later to find him. He does not confront the angry crowd or defend his actions. He finds the man and gives him guidance.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is showing us that he cares for each of us individually. His love for us is not collective. It is individual and unique. The man needed more help than the others so Jesus helped him.
As a teacher, I sometimes notice that one of my students is struggling and frustrated. As all teachers do, I spend more time with this one student not because I care for him more than the others, but because he is in need. However, too often I do not notice a struggling student, or, like the crowd at the pool, I get caught up in something else; his sloppy handwriting; his incomplete worksheet.
Who in my life is struggling and in need now? Will I notice and help or will I get caught up in something else? How can I show love to each person in my life individually and uniquely?
—Jerry Kinney teaches Spanish at Creighton Prep and is the moderator of Operation Others.
“I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I look at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. I can feed only one person at a time. Just one, one, one.”
—St. Teresa of Calcutta
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