Today Fr Paul reads from John’s Gospel (5: 1-3, 5-16). Jesus is visiting Jerusalem where he saw crowds of sick people. Seeing a man lying on the ground, who had been ill for a long time, Jesus said to the man “Rise, pick up your mat and walk”. The man was healed at once, took his mat and walked.
This healing, Jesus’ reflection on it, and the witness it provides, give us the Gospel reading for the next three days, Fr Paul says. This Gospel writer knows Jerusalem well, as he describes the pool area very accurately. It truly was a place where sick and disabled people came expecting to be healed. Jesus comes and takes pity on one sufferer who has been there for thirty-eight years and despite this healing, all the authorities can do is complain that Jesus should not have done this healing on the Sabbath. Jesus’ interpretation of the law is that no Sabbath obligation can stand in the way of Jesus and his love and care for others.
For our reflection today, Fr Paul asks us to place ourselves in the shoes of the man who had been waiting thirty-eight years for healing to ask, ‘what needs healing in my life as Lent draws to a close?’
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