“Do you want to be well?” This question was asked by Jesus to a sick man for years. I got curious, why did Jesus had to ask this question. The answer of course would be a big yes from that sick man. In the context of the sick man, no doubt that he wanted to be healed. But, as I ponder on this conversation between Jesus and the sick man, I am led to see beyond the physical or health condition of the man. Jesus’s healing is not only meant for the body but also for the soul. He equates His healing to forgiveness of sin.
God created us without our consent, but He cannot save us without it. We need to want that offer of forgiveness from Jesus. When Jesus asked the sick man if he wanted to be well, Jesus was also asking, if he wanted to be forgiven.
Do you want to be well? To say yes to this question requires that we acknowledge our infirmities. If we want to be forgiven, we should acknowledge our sinfulness. That is why, it is important that we should know ourselves. We examine our conscience and pray for courage to admit our own sinfulness. What is to
be forgiven if we do not acknowledge our wrongdoings? As one of our former formators said, “the only sin God can forgive is only the sin that we can admit”
Do you want to be well? Yes, we want to be well. Yes, we want to be forgiven. However, while Jesus’ offer of forgiveness is solely His initiative, we are not totally without participation. Forgiveness demands that we should be contrite and sorrowful on our filthy condition because of our sins. Forgiveness demands that we do our best to sin no more.
The Gospel today offers us consolation in our seemingly never ending struggle to be well in both body and soul. Jesus is always ready to extend His hands to heal us from our sickness, body and soul.
By Sem. Rodel Aclan
THE GOSPEL TODAY
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.