Water is a theme that runs through our two readings today. In the first reading from Ezekiel 47, the Angel of the Lord shows Ezekiel a trickle of water flowing out from the temple. The farther they get from the temple, the greater the flow, until the water becomes a large river, teeming with abundant life. This can be an analogy of the Church. It all started with just the Twelve (a trickle) and now stretches across the earth, flowing and bringing life (Christ) to all the earth. In the Gospel reading from John 5, we see another healing.
Jesus sees a man at the pool of Bethesda. The people believed that these were healing waters. When the water was stirred up, people would be healed. This man, who had been ill for 38 years, could never make it into the water on time. So Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be well?” He then heals him, on a sabbath, no less. This is when the Jews began to persecute him, because he had done this on a sabbath.
“Do you want to be well?” This seems like a rhetorical question, doesn’t it? I mean, what is the guy going to say? “No, I like being sick. I’ll just stay like this. But thanks for asking!” As ridiculous as that may sound, I’m afraid that’s just what so many people reply to Jesus. Because when it comes to the sickness of sin, being made well would require a change of life, a change of heart, repentance. And, too often, we don’t want that. We fool ourselves into thinking that a life of sin really isn’t so bad. Besides, it’s much easier this way. So, thanks anyway, Jesus! I’ll just continue on with the way I’m going. That whole “living life to the full” thing is probably overrated anyway. How sad…
Father, give us the grace to recognize the fact that we are sick. Heal us of the sickness of sin. Through your Son, Jesus Christ, make us well. Amen.
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