Sunday, May 22, 2016


Just imagine the scene: crowded within the five porches of the pool of Bethesda, there "lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water."  For it so happened that at various times impossible to predict, an angel would descend and stir the water, and whoever was lucky enough to enter the pool at that precise moment... would be healed!

Unfortunately, with so many seeking the cure, it was rather like the lottery: except one was not required to merely buy a ticket and wait to see if one had the winning number.  It was necessary, rather, that a person needed to push and shove his way into the pool at the very moment the angel descended, ahead of all the others.  If such a thing existed today, it seems to me it could provide the basis for a very popular TV reality show....

Unfortunately, though, only a favored few were, over the course of time, granted the gift of healing so fervently desired, and I suspect that most of those had someone--friend or family--to assist them.  The paralytic who had suffered his infirmity for thirty eight long years, though, lost out every time.  When Jesus approaches this man, he asks him, "Wilt thou be made whole?"  What a question... of course he does.  Nevertheless, an affirmative answer is not a foregone conclusion.  The truth is, there are many persons who do  not, deep down, want to be made whole, who actually prefer the dubious pleasure of being a victim of their infirmity.  But in this case, "The impotent man answers, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool."

Little does he realize, however, that with Jesus' approach, he has such a Man--not just any man, though, but the Godman--the incarnate Son of God Who has come to earth and taken flesh from the pure blood of the Virgin, that by His salvific death and resurrection, He might grant healing to the fallen nature of humanity, that all who believe in Him might be made worthy of eternal life and salvation in His heavenly Kingdom.

And so Jesus commands the paralytic, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk."  But why, we may well ask, was it this man in particular, and not all the others who continued to languish by the pool?  Was this man especially virtuous and deserving?--Not at all!  We know, in fact, that he was a sinner, because Jesus later tells him, "Sin no more, lest a worst thing come upon thee."  Yet it was this man alone who was healed, for no obvious reason we can fathom.  It all came to pass as recorded in the Gospels according to the inscrutable providence of God. 

How often do we ourselves bemoan the seemingly unfair and evil circumstances of our lives, crying out to the Heavens, WHY ME?  Nevertheless, no matter how much it may be appointed unto us to suffer the "slings and arrows" of misfortune and seemingly unjust persecution at the hands of our enemies, one thing is sure and certain:  in the words of the Holy Apostle, "All things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose."  There is a purpose for everything God allows to enter into our lives, and that purpose always involves our salvation--that through whatever suffering we may be called to endure during this brief earthly life, our souls and bodies might be refined like pure gold in the furnace, that we may in the end be made worthy of the gift of eternal life in the Age to Come.

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