March 17 – Rise and Walk in Faith
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-za′tha, which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.
Now that day was the sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me said to me, ‘Take up your pallet, and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your pallet, and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did this on the sabbath.
Jesus saw this man trying to get to the water but couldn’t because he was ill and alone while others went before him. Jesus could see he had some faith to come to the healing waters, but just could not make the next step forward because of his sickness. It was not the physical touching of the water that would heal him anyway, but his faith in God and desire to be close to Him. Jesus sees what is in our hearts. He can see that we want to be healed, physically and spiritually, but maybe don’t think we can get there on our own. That is the wonderful thing about Jesus becoming man. He completely understands our struggles and sickness, and wants to heal us. We must also be willing to answer His call, which is why He asked the man, “Do you want to be healed?” The man’s answer to Jesus was filled with the need for others and excuses about others pushing him back, instead of moving closer on his own power. We need to stop using excuses as to why we can’t grow closer to God, we do not need to depend on friends or family to bring us to God, nor should we allow others to prevent us from moving forward toward Him. We need to get up and walk on our own, and it is Jesus who calls us to get up and walk in faith. We could choose to sit and remain sick in our lack of faith, but in order to follow Jesus, we need trust in His healing and pick ourselves up and follow Him. Jesus is joyful to find the man in the temple, a place where he would not have been able to go before when he was sick, and this showed Him that he was thankful and continuing to grow in his faith. Jesus also filled with joy when He sees us in Church and giving thanks to God. All He asks of us to sin no more and continue to grow in our faith, so that we do not return to our sickness.
The controversy: Jesus performed this miracle on the Sabbath AND told the man to do work. We read many times when Jesus would perform miracles or do something He shouldn’t have according to tradition because it was on the Sabbath. Along with not performing miracles on the Sabbath, there was absolutely no work to be done. Just lifting and carrying something as small as a needle was considered work and would have broken the Sabbath law. When the healed man was caught doing ‘work,’ he rightly said he was doing what his healer had told him to do. When the healer was identified as Jesus, this became one more accusation used against Him at His trial. It is more important for us to do God’s work than to follow the rules and regulations set by man. God does not tell us that we can not do His work on His day. Jesus was sent to bring the people closer to His Father, how could He not have mercy on someone who needed to be healed? Do not let others judgement of the time or way we are doing God’s work prevent us from helping others.
Lent in Action:
Get up and walk! Challenge yourself to learn more about the Catholic Church and grow your faith.
My Father in Heaven, I have the desire to come closer to You, yet I use others as an excuse as to why I don’t come to You in prayer in and in Mass. Clear the path so that I may get up and walk towards You. Move my heart so that I will be more active in my faith and grow closer to You. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.