Our Lord Himself I saw in this venerable Sacrament . . . I felt as if my chains fell, as those of St. Peter at the touch of the Divine messenger. My God, what new scenes for my soul! --St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: 1774 – 1821: was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church (September 14, 1975)
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.
Three points that struck me in today’s Gospel
1. There’s Always Excuses
2. There’s Always Naysayers
3. There’s Always Hope
Today Christ puts this question to each of us. “Do you want to be well?”
We know we have the excuses. We know there are naysayers and perhaps we’re the biggest one.
Part of the reason we don’t allow God to make us whole is explained by St. Augustine – The life to which we’re accustomed holds us more than the life we long for. Augustine is saying that in the life we have at least we know what to expect. That’s why a woman or man stays in an abusive relationship. That’s why we don’t immediately say yes when Jesus asks, “Do you want to be made whole? That’s why we make excuses.
Here’s the “Good News” – there is always hope! For Baptized Catholics we are one confession away from being “made whole”. Think about all the time we Americas spend in the gym to care for our bodies. But do we care for our eternal soul?
Just 5 minutes in the confessional with a Catholic Priest and yes we can say with absolute certainty, “We have been made whole again.”