Daily Gospel Reflection – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Bishop Robert Barron
March 20, 2023
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Gospel: Ga 5:1-3a, 5-16
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.
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, we find the beautiful healing of a paralyzed man who had been ill for thirty-eight years. Jesus sees the man lying on his mat next to a pool and asks, "Do you want to be well?" The man says yes, and Jesus replies, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk." Immediately, the man is healed.
Now at this point, the story really heats up. We notice something that is frequently on display in the Gospels: the resistance to the creative work of God, the attempt to find any excuse, however lame, to deny it, to pretend it’s not there, to condemn it.
One would expect that everyone around the cured man would rejoice, but just the contrary: the Jewish leaders are infuriated and confounded. They see the healed man, and their first response is, "It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat."
Why are they so reactive? Why don’t they want this to be? We sinners don’t like the ways of God. We find them troubling and threatening. Why? Because they undermine the games of oppression and exclusion that we rely upon in order to boost our own egos. Let this encounter remind us that God’s ways are not our ways, and that there is one even greater than the Sabbath.