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 have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up.”
How often have we walked by the homeless on the street and done nothing? We often avoid eye contact and try to find a pathway of least resistance. Let’s make the scenario less extreme: How many times have I not been there for people I consider to be my friends? Jesus is showing us that it is a fundamental part of our lives as Christians, not only to be present, but to love our neighbor as he loves us.
As I continue on my Lenten journey towards the Resurrection at Easter, I might ask myself “who am I carrying with me?” I might reflect on Jesus himself needing Simon the Cyrene to help carry the Cross. Do I consider this a solo journey or am I willing to engage the entire Body of Christ?
Lord, you call us to love our neighbors. Today, I ask you to help me to recognize and love my neighbor, as you have loved me.
—The Jesuit Prayer team