Today’s gospel is about a man whose name we do not know. All we know is that he has been paralysed for 38 years.

What Jesus says, and what the man says and what everyone in the story does, is very important. The story is in the Bible because it is part of the lesson that God wants us to hear.

The paralysed man is certainly not the best example of humanity, nor is he the worst. Jesus tells us that the man is paralysed because he has sinned. He is self-centred even in his illness. He does not answer when Jesus asks him directly. “Do you want to be healed”? He instead talks about all his own personal problems, saying what a hard life he had. Jesus loves all of us equally despite our sins.

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The paralysed man does not even know who healed him until a few days later when he meets Jesus again. Then he tells the authorities that it was Jesus who healed Him, even though he knew it would make it bad for Jesus, because they wanted to kill Him. The man does not care. It is all about him and his needs. Surely, we meet and know people like that! How do we treat them?

Jesus tells him not to sin any more or something worse can happen to him.

There is sin in the world today. There is a lot of suffering too. Children suffer because of stress, because of what is happening in their families. They see worries, arguments, and other problems. All this sin causes pain in our lives.

It is good to look at what Jesus is saying to us today. Jesus loves us. He forgives us despite what we do, and our failure to recognize God. Jesus is a God of Mercy. He does not ignore our pain.

Jesus gives us a church, which is more than just a building. It is our spiritual home, our spiritual family.

Jesus respects our human freedom to do what is right or wrong.

God will always send us a survivor. He sent us Jesus Christ. We are weak, but we must decide to choose Jesus and to reject the evil one. God is waiting for us to choose.

The pool in today’s Gospel is an important symbol. It represents a place where we must be baptized, choose faith, renew ourselves, and receive the mercy and power of God.

Jesus gives us a church, which is more than just a building. It is our spiritual home, our spiritual family. That is where we live our lives, pray, grow, and love one another. Jesus has patience. It may take some a very long time to come to Jesus for help.

One final lesson we can learn from the Gospel. We, who are “baptized in Christ”, “have put on Christ” need to do the work of Christ and help each other to be healed in Christ. It took the paralysed man 38 years to meet Christ. Let us pray that we can also meet Him, despite the long time we might have been separated from Him.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM

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