After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”
Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“I have no one to put me into the pool…”
I have no one…
No one helps me. No one cares about me. No one truly loves me.
This is a tempting and dangerous refrain we can tell ourselves at times. It can keep us angry, bitter, blind to reality, and paralyzed. And this can last for a long time for some (38 years, for the man in the Gospel today!).
But Jesus exposes this refrain for the falsehood that it is. He embodies a different message: I am here with you. I care about you. I love you.
In this time of uncertainty, worry, and isolation, how can we reject that false refrain and be attentive to the voice and presence of Jesus in our lives? How can we be that presence for those who may be feeling particularly lonely, uncared for, or unloved? How can we embody that message that says: I am here with you. I care about you. I love you.
—Thomas Bambrick, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Midwest Province studying at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, CA.
God of Love and of Presence,
we trust that you are with us
and love us.
Help us to hear your voice,
to feel your presence,
and to know your love for us,
so that we can be that voice,
that presence, that love
for those who need it most.
—Thomas Bambrick, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!