Tuesday - March 24
Our readings today use water as an image of the healing power of God. The prophet Ezekiel receives from the angel a vision of water flowing from the Temple, the symbol of the throne of God. This water starts out as a small little stream, and gradually builds into a powerful river that even makes the salt water of the sea become fresh. This is the water of healing and new life, providing the food on which we live and the medicine that can heal those who have been exiled and held captive.
In the Gospel, the man who is ill and unable to walk, sits by the Pool of Bethesda, where many took ritual baths in hope that they would be healed. But this man has had no one to help him. For 38 years, he continues to wait, and hope. Then, Jesus arrives and asks the man the all-important question, “Do you want to be healed?” While the man in his response seems to be trying to explain why his own healing seems hopeless, his desire to be healed is clearly understood. Jesus then uses not the pool but himself as the Living Water, and speaks the words of healing and new life, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
In our lives we reach a point where we know the areas of our life that are wounded, that keep us from living with the joy for which we were created. That is when Jesus approaches us with the same probing question, "Do you want to be healed?” Do you want to be forgiven, set free from guilt and sin, from our disordered passions, or from hurtful desires and addictions? The first essential step is the desire to change.
I am reminded of St. Augustine, who realized that his sins of lust and promiscuity were keeping him from the true desire of his heart, the wisdom of the Lord Jesus. His famous prayer, “Give me chastity and continence, but not yet!” reveals the struggle we all go through to break away from those sinful habits, that while harmful, still feel so comfortable.
Remember the man who waited 38 years to be healed. Think about St. Augustine, who knew Jesus as the Great Physician but still struggled to leave his life of sin. Let us re-awaken and ignite the desire to change so that we can turn to Jesus and say, “Yes, Lord, I want to be healed.” And with that response of “Yes” to the Lord, we will be able to rise and walk in the ways of the Lord.
Question for Reflection:
Is there anything holding you back from the Lord's healing power and transforming grace that can set you free to live in wholeness, joy, and peace with God?