“A church that doesn't provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn't unsettle, a word of God that doesn't get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn't touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed — what gospel is that?” – Archbishop Oscar Romero: (1917 –1980: was the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador. He spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture. In 1980, Romero was assassinated while offering Mass in the chapel of the Hospital of Divine Providence.)
Gospel Text: (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.
Why did Jesus focus on this man amidst a crowd of many who were ill, blind, lame, and crippled? Maybe he'd been sick the longest. Maybe he had more love for God than the others did. Maybe the Father had a special plan for his life. We don't know, but whatever the reason, Jesus recognized his need and readiness to be healed, and so he decided to take the initiative and reach out to the man.
Here is the catch - Jesus knew the ramifications of inviting the lame man to receive his healing gift: Both he and the man would be condemned as sinners. Have you ever been in that kind of a situation?
Dare to follow your heart to where others need the caring touch of Christ. Look for opportunities to be Jesus for others in ways that you've avoided before. Stretch your ability to face the cross, because you love others that much.