Tuesday of the 4th Week of Lent

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

Cure on a Sabbath


Health is wealth. We all want to be well. This explains why most people seek to stay healthy. They are willing to spend any amount just to be healthy. To be productive in one’s 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.

The man in the gospel had been sick for many years. His long illness must have taught him to be patient. He did not complain. He was not angry at himself or at those who got down to the pool ahead of him. He was not demanding. He was calm and polite toward Jesus. When asked by our Lord, “Do you want to be well?” He replied, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up.” His desire to get well and be able to walk again was great.

Jesus, as always, is willing and prepared to help us. He does not force Himself on us, though. He needs our consent before he does us a favor. That is why He asked the paralytic: “Do you want to be well?” It’s an offer the sick man can either accept or reject. But for him who had been in such predicament for 38 years, who is he to say ‘no’ to such a generous offer? He most certainly wanted to get well. And Jesus healed him instantly: “Raise, take up your mat and walk.”

This Lenten season is an invitation for all of us “to be well.” How do we stand before the Lord? How do we fare towards our neighbor? If we wish to be closer to our Lord and enjoy inner peace, we have “to be well” in our relationship with Him and with all the people around us. (Fr. Orly Guzman, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


“Miracle workers!”. This was the name people called us when we conducted mission work in Gloria, Oriental Mindoro. Here’s why.

A kutsero walked in one night in our place seeking medicine for his multiple boils on the face. The boils were like tiny volcanoes complete with oozing “lava” running down his face. The man was carrying his sickness for twelve years and had consulted several physicians and quack doctors. When he came we rummaged through our box of medicine and found a set of brand-spectrum antibiotics. We gave him some. The following day he returned, completely healed. Curious, we took the remaining medicine and carefully read what was written on their container, only to find out that the capsules have expired five years ago. Later, however, an old German priest, who visited us the night before, casually mentioned how happy he was when the night he visited us at a certain kutsero, who was away from the church for more than ten years, came to make his confession.

A doctor-announcer broadcast through DZMM one evening that man’s sickness comes from three sources: 50 percent from Sin, 25 percent from Maxim and 25 percent from Toxin.

Maxim is abuse of the body; toxin is the poison we take from our food; sin is our stubbornness to live our life separate from God’s plan.

The gospel today’s confirms this when Jesus said to the man who got healed, “Now you are well; don’t sin again, lest something worse happen to you.” Lent is a time to go back to God. For whatever God is, life abounds and healing takes place. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


Jesus told the paralytic on a Sabbath: ‘Rise, take up your mat and walk.” Jesus desecrated the holy Sabbath on two counts! He cured the sick man and he asked the man to carry his mat. The Pharisees who watched Jesus intently must have felt their blood boil.

It is very difficult for us to imagine how Jews literally keep the work prohibitions on the Sabbath. For example: cooking in most all forms (boiling, roasting, baking, frying, etc.) is forbidden on the Sabbath, in particular when the temperature is raised above 45 degrees centigrade. One cannot squeeze a lemon into a glass of iced tea but one can squeeze lemon on a piece of fish. If the hot water tap is accidentally left on, it cannot be turned off on the Sabbath. That one cannot light a fire on the Sabbath is taught in the Old Testament law (cf. Ex. 35:3). Strict Judaism views this to prohibit turning electric lights on or off on the Sabbath. The problem can be solved, however, by using a timer which automatically handles this task. So, too, an air conditioner cannot be turned on by a Jew on the Sabbath, although a Gentile might be persuaded to do so.

It is important to remember that keeping the Sabbath is a divine law. But in the course of time, the Sabbath commandment by man’s manipulation became a burden instead of giving life. The interpretation and implementation was not according to the spirit of the law.

We keep the law because it is salutary for us. By resting from servile work, we find time to cooperate with God in His plan of salvation and we give Him due reverence, praise and honor. (Fr. Ben Limsuan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


Hospital chaplaincy can be so rewarding. A patient’s sister approached me and said, “You know, Father, one day after her confession, my sister became so friendly.   She started talking to us. She was so happy. And she has taken a bath already. “Naligo na siya.” After spiritual cleansing comes physical cleansing.

In the gospel Jesus seems to convey an explicit relationship between sickness and sin. To the person who was healed after many years of suffering, Jesus said, “Look, you are well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” The link between illness and sin is also mentioned in the Old Testament. The narrative after the fall of the first parents illustrates vividly the connection. In Dives in Mesericordia, it says, “….this is fact that sin too constitutes human misery…. When stricken with misfortune and where they became aware of their sin, people entrusted themselves to the God of mercy,” (no. 5). Human misery or misfortune becomes evident in sickness. Human experience tells us how sin or evil deeds affect one’s health. Ang kalokohan mo ay babalik sa yong katawan. And translated literally it means: Your foolishness will go back to your body. Or to say it in another way, vices or excesses affect your health.

For Jesus health is the total human wellbeing. Evil thoughts, hatred against our enemies and even pessimistic attitudes will result in the deterioration of the body (psychosomatic illness). Behavioural scientists urge people to throw away psychological baggage and unfounded anxieties. In the religious parlance, these are out guilt and disturbance of conscience that make us so wounded and anxious. Let us seek Jesus in the sacrament of reconciliation. He is always waiting for us who are sick, disturbed and wounded. (Fr. Martin Mandin, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


March 8, 2016 Tuesday

Not being able to move by yourself for thirty-eight years is not a joke. Worse is having no one to help you in times of need. But what should be highlighted are the man’s patience, persistence, hope and faith. Despite the fact that someone would always get into the pool before him, which must have really been frustrating, he continued to hope that someday God would make a way for him and help him out of his misery.

Perhaps, this faith was what moved Jesus’ heart when he saw the man. This man probably realized that God had looked upon his sufferings with mercy, and was expecting Jesus to help him get into the pool, but God answered his prayers in a way that was more than he could ever expect.

Instead of just helping him, Jesus cured him, “Rise, take up your mat and walk.” He was instantly healed; no more need to go into the pool. He found help through a much better way than he possibly dreamed of. Sometimes, it seems to take a long time for God to answer our prayers, but in His perfect time, God answers our prayers in a much better way, just as what Jesus did to the sick man. We only need to be patient and persevering.

We wonder why the man had no one to help him go into the pool—no friends, no relatives, no neighbors? That is really odd! And then we get the sense of the man being alienated from his community – an ailment much worse than a physical one. When he met the man later at the temple, Jesus addressed this issue by calling him to a conversion from sin—to sin no more and to use God’s grace of healing towards him to make him a better person. This is Jesus’ way of reintegrating the man with his community.

This is the healing that Jesus gives to those of us who hope to be cured. It is total and integral. The man was healed not only physically but spiritually and socially as well. With God’s compassion and mercy, may we gain confidence in ourselves. May this confidence liberate us from individualism and help us discover the healing mercy and compassion of God. (Fr. Fermin “Joks” Galolo, SVD CT, Manila Bible Diary 2016)



My Reflection for Tuesday April 1, fourth Week of Lent, John 5:1-16

Reflection: Imagine that Jesus is in front of you and He tells you this question:  “Do you want to be well?” How would you reply? Of course you will say, Yes I want to be well! After which Jesus will tell you, then go humble yourself before me in the Sacrament of Confession. Then you tell Jesus some other time Jesus I’m busy right now and with the passing of days you eventually forgot about the command of Jesus to go to the Sacrament of Confession.

Many of us want to get closer to Jesus and we want to be healed by Jesus. Yet we don’t bother to humbly submit ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Confession. In this sacrament we are healed from our spiritual sickness and we may not know it that through His infinite grace we are also healed from our many physical sickness.

When we humble ourselves through this sacrament we allow Jesus to wash away all our sins no matter how grave it is. We entrust ourselves to the healing mercy of Jesus. Blessed Pope John Paul II once said:  “Confession is an act of honesty and courage – an act of entrusting ourselves beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God.”

The disabled man in our gospel for today who has been sick for thirty eight long years was instantly healed by Jesus because he obeyed His command. The disabled man did not care if it was a Sabbath day a day of rest for them. What was important for him was to obey the command of Jesus.

Often times we also create our own Sabbath day and it’s none other than our own preoccupations. We are so busy with so many passing and temporal activities that we don’t anymore have time to submit ourselves to this healing Sacrament.

When was your last Confession? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Reflection for March 8, Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent; John 5:1-16

Reflection: Is there a relationship between sickness and sin? Based on the pronouncements of Jesus in the gospel there is.

The man who had been sick for thirty-eight long years was asked by Jesus, “Do you want to be well (John 5:6)?” 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 (John 5:7-8).” Then on the latter part of the gospel Jesus said to the healed man: “Look, you are well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may happen to you (John 5:14).”

We may not know it but many of our sickness are brought about by our sins. For example, the sin of Greed, Anger and Gluttony, in so many ways Greed and Anger are one of the triggers for us to have sickness such as high blood pressure and the like. The same is true with Gluttony, over indulging on any kind of food will eventually make us sick in the long run.

Let us therefore repent from our sins and avoid it thereafter. The moment we repent by way of the Sacrament of Confession we would be free from any guilt of conscience and surely free from the possession of the devil which sometimes disguises itself as sickness. – Marino J. Dasmarinas



THE MAT OF SUFFERING: “Do you want to be well?” – John 5:6

The man had been paralyzed for 38 years. That’s a pretty long time. I bet he couldn’t see himself in any other way— until Jesus came along.

For many people, their suffering or their poverty becomes their “safe zone.” They’ve gotten used to the pain and the poverty.

Author Robin Sharma said, “The most dangerous place is your safe zone.” If you want growth in your life, you have to get out of your safe zone. Because your safe zone is the place for dead people.

At the root of all ambivalence is fear of the unknown. No matter how painful suffering is, at least we’re familiar with it. That suffering has become our identity. When there’s an opportunity to get out of suffering, fear of the unknown grips our heart.

The man’s paralysis was his identity, so much so that his mat became his master. His mat controlled him, not the other way around. Here’s my big question to you: What problem has become your identity?

Jesus said, “Stand up and pick up your mat.” Don’t let your problem control you. Take control of your problem! Take charge of your sickness. Take charge of your debt. Take charge of your situation. Stand up! Bo Sanchez (bosanchez@kerygmafamily.com)

Reflection: What is your mat? Does it control you or do you control it?

Free me, Jesus, from the mats that control my life. Grant me courage to face the unknowns in my life.



1ST READING: Conversion is a slow process. We cannot expect our lives to be transformed in an instant when we choose to follow Jesus. Conversion, and the growth in holiness that accompanies it, is a step-by-step process that takes a lifetime. We never stop growing in faith and conversion. This is the nature of true faith: there is always another step. We will never exhaust the possibilities of the transforming power of God’s love until we meet Him face to face in heaven. Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12

GOSPEL: How can anyone in his right mind complain about the healing of a lame man, especially when the complaint is based on the fact that the miracle took place on the wrong day of the week? It is a ridiculous complaint to make and it clearly demonstrates that the case being framed by the Jewish leaders against Jesus lacks substance. John 5:1-16

think: We will never exhaust the possibilities of the transforming power of God’s love until we meet Him face to face in heaven.



ONE ON ONE: And so we are into another Lenten Season together! Let us note, though, that our Gospel story tells us about Jesus singling out a crippled man among so many by the Pool of Bethesda. This man, ill for 38 years, became the recipient of a life-changing encounter with Jesus, who engaged him in a dialogue and who finally rewarded him with a discreet cure. Amazingly, though, the man at first did not know that it was Jesus whom he had met and who had cured him. Jesus had to reveal Himself to the man a second time, for him to recognize that it was the Lord.

Lent, our 40-day preparation for Holy Week, though a liturgical journey with the Church, is a call for us to open up to a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus. The Church, in fact, has retained the traditional period for 40 days for this solemn and sober season because 40 days used to be the conventional time for a retreat. In fact, during this season, religious of the contemplative tradition such as the Carmelite monks and Poor Clare nuns, still stick to their 40-day seclusion for Lent, and they entertain no visits until Easter.

Though we are men and women of the world, busy with family and business affairs, Lent is a season when we are called to enter into a period of personal and individual retreat — through moments of daily meditation with the Word of God, coupled with more intense prayer times. This way, we open ourselves and we create a space for “The God of the Encounter” to also minister to us in our individual needs and brokenness. This is one beautiful thing I most appreciate about God — He is never overwhelmed by numbers!

As the line of a song says: “He still finds the time to hear a child’s first prayer… He knows every lie that you and I have told.” Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTION: Should our Lord Jesus Christ appear to you during these times, what are the first things you wish to tell Him personally? Make a schedule for a “daily retreat” — an hour of Bible reading and prayerful dialogue with Jesus — for the rest of Lent.

Help me to be faithful to my daily retreat, Lord.



EXCUSES – “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.” – John 5:7

“Sir, the line at the train station was very long. I wasn’t able to take the first available ride,” Gel replied when I asked why he was late again.

There are people who blame others or situations for things they should be responsible for. They point fingers at others or see situations taking control over them. In short, they find excuses.

Just like the man in today’s Gospel. He wants to be healed but finds an excuse — somebody else gets into the pool ahead of him. This may be the reason Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be healed?”

Friend, do you really want to change? Stop blaming others. Just do what you need to do! Start leaving early for appointments so you won’t be late. Dispose of rubbish properly so our drains don’t clog when it rains. Use pedestrian lanes instead of crossinganywhere. Follow traffic rules even if there is no traffic enforcer in sight.

Start with yourself now. As the Bible says, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but one of power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Danny Tariman (dtariman.loj@gmail.com)

Pope Francis Says:“The evils of our world — and those of the Church — must not be excuses for diminishing our commitment and our fervor. Let us look upon them as challenges which can help us to grow.”

Lord, give me the strength of self-discipline that I may not blame others.



TAKE UP YOUR MAT – I have assisted my friend in bringing his son, who has suffered much from addiction, to a rehabilitation facility. Feeling our anxiety, the head of the facility tried to assure us of the efficacy of the rehabilitation by explaining to us the intervention that they will employ: “We shall make him the master of his actions and not the other way around as it is now.”

Dictionary.com defines addiction as “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.” When one becomes a slave of something, that something defines his actions. It dictates how he will act, how he will dispose himself. It becomes his master. And he becomes the subservient slave.

Five times in today’s Gospel, the “taking up of one’s bed” was mentioned. It shows the importance that the evangelist John puts on what it signifies and how it may speak to the hearers of his proclamation. For a long time, it was the paralytic who was at the mercy of his bed — the one that carries him around, literally. Now, the hour of redemption has come. It will no longer be that way; he will be the one to carry his bed.

When Jesus met the man again in the Temple, He tells the man, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The relationship between sin and sickness has always been clear among Jews. Illnesses are consequences of one’s sinning. W. H. Auden says, “All sin tends to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation.”

This incident at Bethesda will speak to us invaluably as we face the reality of our own enslavement to sin. Jesus’ power and grace enables us to rise above our weaknesses that have been making us slaves to sin. He can heal us and restore us to our original state. Jesus can make us the masters of our own selves so that sin will not dictate to us how we are to dispose ourselves in thought and deed. Fr. Sandy V. Enhaynes

REFLECTION QUESTION: Is there anything in your life that enslaves you? Lift it up to God and ask Him for the grace to be free from it.

Dearest Lord, I ask for the grace to be free from my enslavement to ____ (name your habitual sin). Amen.



Monday, March 7, 2016

TUESDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK OF LENT (YEAR C) – JUAN 5:1-16. MATINUD-ANON BA ANG ATONG PAGBALIK SA GINOO? May mga tawo nga mobalik sa Dios kon aduna nay bati-on sa lawas. Ang uban mabuotan kon hadlaon sa mga suliran. Maingon nato nga ang sakit ug problema nahimong grasya nga nagtakoban tungod kay pinaagi niini nabalik ang tawo ngadto sa Ginoo. Apan, adunay pipila nga human mamaayo ug human masulbad ang problema, mobalik na pud sa daotang binuhatan. Dili kini angayan. Diha sa ebanghelyo, human ayoha ni Hesus ang tawo nga nagmasakiton sulod sa 38 ka tuig, iya kining gipahimangnoan: “Tan-awa, naayo ka na. Ayaw na pagpakasala aron dili ka mahi-agom sa labi pang mangil-ad nga hitabo.” Makahuloganon ang giingon sa usa ka teologo, “Healing comes when we choose to walk away from darkness and move towards a brighter light.” Posted by Abet Uy



Ez 47:1-9, 12; Jn 5:1-16

Lying idly beside Bethesda

Due to his attitude towards the priests, scribes and the Pharisees, Jesus was often regarded as a rebellious, marginal Jew and a potential threat to the aristocracy of his time. For Jesus, his relationship with his Father was a personal affair rather than following a set of rites and rituals. If we never ever had any experience of God in our life, we too will emulate the life of the Pharisees, scribes and priests of Judaism. A personal encounter with God is essential to develop a personal relationship with him. Otherwise gradually we too will get caught up in the snares of rites and rituals, devotions and liturgies, customs and practices. Every religion is full of such traps. In today’s Gospel we find a man waiting at the pool of Bethesda. He was lying there for thirty-eight years, yet nothing happened. The name “Bethesda’ means “house of mercy or house of grace”. That sick man knew what he should do. But, he never jumped or fell into that “pool of mercy”. For him, lying there became a habit, a rite or a ritual. Even today many religious are lying at the bank of Bethesda and shamelessly celebrating their silver, golden, platinum and even diamond Jubilees without ever daring or caring to enter the Bethesda (God) – the pool of grace! If anybody takes a dip in Bethesda, naturally grace and mercy will start oozing out of him/her through his/her words and deeds. If grace and mercy are not emanating from one’s face, it is quite evident that he/she has never entered Bethesda!

Many people, they simply lie at the pool of mercy, never ever trying to enter it and get healed. Lying idly beside Bethesda (God) ‘the pool of mercy’ becomes a habit for most religious people without ever taking advantage of their marvelous opportunity. However some clever devotees soon discover business opportunities around Bethesda. It is around holy places and pilgrim centers big businesses flourish – money exchange and cheating. Many two-legged sheep, cows and doves are attracted or brought and are sacrificed on their holy altars. Like flies attracted towards bonfire people flock around God-men/women and holy places and lays waiting. We need people like Jesus to awaken them and ask, “Why are you here? Do you want to be healed?” The sick man at Bethesda had a quick answer, “Sir, I have no one to put me into pool.” It is in the nature of losers to blame somebody else for their failure. Fortunately, this man grabbed the opportunity he was offered. Always remember that we are surrounded by Bethesda, the pool of Mercy. What needed is to overcome our fear and jump into Bethesda… Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI



March 08, 2016

REFLECTION: Today’s saint was not born a saint, by no means. In fact, the first 40 years of his life were far from edifying. Born in Portugal on this date in 1495, he died on this date in 1550. His name was John Ciudad. At age 27 he enlisted in the army and fought in wars between the Spaniards and the French, and later in Hungary against the Turks. While a soldier, he gave up on religion and lived a completely immoral life.

At age 40 he left the army and began to regret his past sinful life. In 1538 he was deeply influenced by a sermon of St. John Avila (which proves that some sermons are useful!) but so exaggerated his religious conduct that for some months he was committed to an insane asylum. But he recovered and started to devote himself to the care of the sick poor. He soon attracted other co-workers, and after a time his bishop gave him the name John of God, as also a rule of life to him and his companions. Thus was founded the Order of the Brothers Hospitallers, which is still very much active in many countries of the world.


8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205



See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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