Tuesday of the 4th Week of Lent

John 5:1-16 (1-3, 5-16)

Cure on a Sabbath

Erma Bombeck said: “Never go to a doctor whose plants in his office have died.” I think this is true. How can he take care of our health if he’s not taking care even of plants that need our care too?

Health is wealth. All of us want to be healthy. We are willing to spend thousands and even millions of pesos just to remain healthy. Most of us seek to stay healthy in order to be productive in our work, at home, in school, in the community, in society and to be able to maintain truly human relationships. It is important to be healthy not only physically, psychologically, but most all, spiritually.

Many of us know that mind and body can influence each other. Like for example, a prolonged worry can cause ulcers and a chemical imbalance in the blood can produce hallucinations. Some of our states of mind can entail severe functional disorders such as blindness, deafness and paralysis. We call these imbalances of body and mind as psychosomatic disease. All this is well summarized by George F. Freemesser in his book, Learning to Live From Within, A Glimpse of Jesus as Healer. He says: “Medical science is more and more understanding about the influence on physical illness of man’s emotional state. Thus, one is vulnerable to heart disease who manifests worry, undue ambition, excessive need to achieve, repressed hostility and rebellion against the limitations of time. And resentment, self-pity, inability to forgive, inability to develop and maintain meaningful relationships have all been seen as pre-disposing psychological factors in the development of cancer” (p. 102).

In today’s gospel a man who has been crippled for thirty eight years is among the blind, lame and paralyzed who seek cures by being the first to enter the water of the pool after some sort of stirrings and this was the popular belief. Everyday this man comes to the pool for thirty eight years. This would probably have been 13,870 times. For all those times, nobody gives this sick man a helping hand to be the first to reach the healing waters. But Jesus is compassionate to him as opposite to the attitude of the people of unconcern and selfishness. Jesus cures the man and tells him to pick up his mat, which is one of the 39 classes of works forbidden by the Mosaic Law on the Sabbath (that is, carrying an article from one place to another), and walk. But Jesus warns him: “Look, you are well; do not sin any more so that nothing worse may happen to you.” By these words it seems that Jesus has somewhat anticipated the finding of psychosomatic disorder and that this man’s former paralysis had been caused by excessive guilt or by some sinful attitude. What is worse is if our souls will be in eternal damnation because of our sins.

How many people are there that could not avail of the curing grace of God’s word as well as in the Church’s sacraments because there was no one to help them? We cannot stand by passively while we see relatives and friends far from God.  Some of them may need just a little bit of encouragement so that they go to the sacrament of reconciliation. We have a responsibility to help those around us in their physical and spiritual needs. Winston Churchill said: “The price of greatness is responsibility.”

At the end I will give you a quiz. See how you do on this one: 1) List a few teachers who aided your journey through school. 2) Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time. 3) Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile. 4) Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special. 5) Think of five people you enjoy spending time with. 6) Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you. Is it easier? The lesson is: The people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

See Other Homily Sources

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