Tuesday, March 8th – Mary Tellier
Gospel: JN 5: 1-16
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.
Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.’“
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.
So often, I find myself coming to Jesus with a laundry list of problems—virtues I need to work on, prayers for healthier relationships, or dilemmas that I would like resolved. I find myself rattling off problems, then sitting back to allow Jesus to work His magic in my life so that I can finally check my problems off the list. In this gospel passage, Jesus approaches a sick man, a man who had his list of problems for thirty-eight years. Jesus’ question to him is simple: “Do you want to be well?”
As I reflected on this passage, I asked myself, when I come to Jesus with my list, “Do I want to be well?” Yes, it would be wonderful to instantly be the kindest and most humble person in the world, and it would be great for every conversation to go exactly as I had hoped. However, I find that I am often unwilling to put in the work that bettering myself requires; I sit back and hope that He will solve my problems for me. But Jesus, who could and does work such miracles, calls us to work with Him.
He stands ready to love us and to nurture us into the people He calls us to be, but prayer is more than simply asking Him for what we need and passively waiting for it to happen. Instead, He wants us to give us the opportunities to exercise that virtue or inspire the ideas that make us more successful. It is through these opportunities that we grow in our faith; just as muscles need to be worked, so does our holiness. Just like the man in the passage, we might often feel like some people, or maybe even Jesus, are passing us up and that the things we want in this world are unreachable. When it seems like we are at a stalemate, it might be worth asking if we are willing to put in the work to make our lives and ourselves better. Do we, when we turn ourselves to Jesus in prayer, try our best to grow in holiness or do we continue to live our lives as we did before? Essentially, “Do you really want to be well?”
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