Parched Hearts

March 28, 2017
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
The Gospel Today
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 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.

REFLECTION (Sem. Miguel Josemaria C. Valeroso)

Give in to your thirst. We use the word thirst for various objects. I thirst for water. I thirst for wine. I thirst for rest. I thirst for love. The meaning is somehow different from hunger as thirst seems to pertain to a more primal or basic desire and necessity – something that is literally to die for. To give in to our thirsts then is to be true to our deepest nature and desires, to be true to ourselves.

The man in the Gospel today has been thirsting to be cured for thirty-eight years. That is half the average lifetime! We could not help but be inspired by the persistence of this man. He could have easily given up on the tenth year or on the twentieth or thirtieth. St. John the evangelist has been so generous as to tell us what kept the man going for all those years. “I have no one…,” he said. It echoes our Lady’s response to the angel, which we have heard just last Saturday, “I have no relations with a man.” Just as our Lady had strongly desired and vigilantly waited for the long-foretold coming of the Messiah, so the man in the Gospel thirst to be cured of his illness. And when they followed their thirsts, both were satisfied by the Lord. Our Lady put herself ready to encounter her Lord in constant prayer as a righteous Jew, while the man in the Gospel persevered to go daily to the pool that he believed would heal him.

What does our heart tell us that it is thirsting for? Is it happiness? Is it healing? Is it intimacy? When we get our answer, then we should run after it like a thirsty animal longing for water. Give in to your holy thirsts for there the Lord awaits you.

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