Grace to you!
We continue our reflection on the identity of Jesus.
The Gospel of John 5:1 says Jesus returned to Jerusalem for the Feast. We are not sure which of the Jewish feasts. It could have been one of the three main Jewish feasts (the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacle or the Feast of Pentecost), which every male Jew who lives within twenty miles of Jerusalem was obliged to attend.
This action shows Jesus of Nazareth as a true Jew. He grew from a particular culture, as well as lived like others in his culture, though as the letter to the Hebrews says, “without sin.” This too is an acknowledgement of his humanity.
Amidst the multitude of people crowded at the temple for the Feast, Jesus sought out those desperately in need. Scripture says, “Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethza′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” (Jn 5:2-4).
The Lord singled out the man who had been lying there a long time. He was, probably, the worst of the cases.
Before we look at the miraculous action of Jesus, connect with this story. Jesus Christ doesn’t look at us as a collection of people. He pays attention to our particular needs. Your needs are noticed by the Lord and he provides in due time.
See how Jesus responded? First he sought the man’s consent: “Do you want to be healed?” and with the “yes” followed the miracle, simply by the power of Jesus’ word.
Jesus Christ, like God the Father, does not force us to believe in him or in the Revelation which he is. He proposes it to us. In like manner, followers of Jesus must not force people to faith. Their evangelization work is to propose and allow people to make up their mind.
The miracle that ensued irked the Jews who thought Jesus was violating the Sabbath. The action of Jesus, however, was a calculated work to reveal his identity as equal to the Father, the Lord of the Sabbath, the Law Giver.
Lent is, therefore, a time to reconnect with the mystery of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, whose life is the complete revelation of the Triune God. He is the Lord, our healer.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday, Lent, Week 4; Ez 47:1-9, 12; Jn 5:1-16]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.