Scripture (John 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 anymore,
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.
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.
In today’s Gospel Jesus asks the ill man a simple question, “Do you want to be well?” That simple question can be a very profound one for all Christians, do we WANT to be well. Being well, having fulfillment in our lives, and growing in a spiritual relationship with Christ begins with our own desire. What is it that we want? Are we willing to make that simple choice and say yes to Jesus’ question? Yet, that simple question does not mean that coming to the answer is an easy process for any of us.
I am blessed to work in a Catholic high school and get to experience the world through the eyes of teenagers. The trials and joys of life hit young people in fresh ways as so much of their life is a first experience. High school often presents young people with their first big disappointment, their first deep friendship, and their initial awareness of real pain or fear. What is inspiring about working with teenagers is that more often than not they respond to life’s challenges with a joyful willingness to say yes to Christ. Teenagers see the glass as half full and their future is a place of promise and hope. They are not jaded by past experiences or flawed hurtful memories. Teens may make plenty of mistakes, but their willingness to say yes to Christ in the face of difficulties is inspiring.
During Lent we should all reflect on Jesus’ question, “Do we want to be well?” In prayer search for a teenager’s sense of joy and fun before responding. My prayer is that I can put aside my adult weariness of the world and the stress of daily challenges and renew my efforts to listen for Jesus’s call. Not only should we respond that yes, we want to be well, but we should do so with a teenager’s passion and excitement and shout out that “Yes! We want to be well.”
These Lenten reflections are written by friends of 12plus1, Inc. Discovery House a service-based gap year experience for participants ages 18-20 will begin August 2018. Please share this information with an individuals who may want to participate or support this new ministry.
How has Jesus called out to you? Are you actively listening for God’s call?
In what ways do you need healing? What do you need to be well?
How can you adopt a youthful sense of joy and excitement when facing the troubles in your life?
Pray that you can respond to the challenges of the world with joy and excitement.
Edward Foy is the principal at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, WI