Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

 A Lenten Renewal:
Reflections on the Mass readings in light of our daily lives
By Mother Marie Julie, SCMC
My Dear Good People,
There is a story behind today’s Gospel story from John 5:1-16. There was a place called the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem where there was a pool with five porticoes [entrances]. Tradition promised that when the angels stirred the waters in that pool, the first person with any illness or deformity who slipped into the waters after the stirring would be healed. This must have been common knowledge, because when John wrote his Gospel he did not tell this part of the story, presuming that his hearers/readers would be aware of the background.
Jesus came to the place and saw a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years, lying on a mat. Jesus spoke to him, asking, Do you want to be well?
Instead of answering His question, the man began explaining his plight. When the waters were stirred, he said, while he was on his way someone always got into the pool before him. Can you hear the man telling this story? Perhaps he spoke sharply out of frustration. Or, touched by the fact that Jesus stopped to speak to him, he might have spoken through tears of pent-up desperation. He evidently had no one to help him maneuver his way, and one wonders for how many years he had been trying to be the one who would be granted the miracle.
And can you see Jesus as He listens? Of course, being God, He knew the tragedy of this soul who obviously had great faith. But he wanted to be present to someone who had suffered not only a lingering illness, but a great loneliness. It’s such a human encounter, similar to one we might have with a homeless person at the train station that leaves us feeling helpless and in tatters. The Heart of Jesus reaches out to this man to give him what he needs even before he asks Him for the healing.
Rise. Take up your mat and walk.
There’s more to the Gospel story (which is worth reading, because it raises more questions than it resolves), but can we take only this one point? What if, when we are desperate, we imagine Jesus coming to us in our poverty and asking, Do you want to be well—that is, to be made whole? If He was so moved by this man’s plight that He went out of His way to embrace him with this miracle, would He do less for you or for me? If we are so poor that we can’t even help ourselves, Jesus can be counted on to find us hunched in our doorways, hoping for a miracle that just doesn’t seem to come.
Today, let us spend a few moments deep within our soul, allowing ourselves to be found by Jesus who so longs to embrace us with His love. Let Him ask us, Do you want to be made whole? And let us respond by looking up at Him and simply telling Him, Lord, you know everything, You know I want to be made whole.
That encounter alone will be miracle enough.
“With Mary, our lives continually proclaim the greatness of the Lord and the joy experienced in rendering service to Him.”

Holy Rule

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