“Do you want to be well?” John 5:6
We can picture the man in today's gospel, languishing in the porticoes around the healing pools of Bethesda. For 38 years he has been an invalid. Because Jesus "knew that he had been ill for a long time," he offers him healing by asking a pointed question:
"Do you want to be well?"
As we listen to the man's response, we might wonder if the man really wants to be healed. Perhaps he has thought of himself as an invalid for so many years that he isn't sure how to answer. His answer is not "YES!" but the reasons why he has to remain sickly.
When we are asked the same question by Jesus, how do we answer? We feel locked into situations in our lives, to points of view, addictions and negative attitudes. Jesus offers us a release from these things and we quickly tell him why we can't be healed.
What would my life look like if I were well? What would it look like to lead a life of integrity and wholeness? Parts of my life are in conflict with other parts. Things I say are important in my life don't always match how I live my life.
I can give Jesus a long list of why I can't be changed or healed. The right circumstances aren't there in my life. I have to live this way because "I am a person who always has been.... inflexible, impolite, grumpy, negative..." My life is set this way and I have to live with it.
We can tell Jesus why we can't change our lives. We can quickly explain the circumstances that keep us from caring about the poor, treating our family better or being less judgemental. But his healing call is always there, even when we don't want to hear it. Jesus reaches out to us and waits for us to listen long enough to accept his healing words, "Rise and walk."
Jesus, I am afraid of your healing. Maybe you are offering me something I don't want. What will it cost me to change? What will it mean for my life if I stop thinking of myself a certain way and begin to think of myself as whole and healthy? Give me the courage to accept the grace, love and healing you offer me. Let me rise and walk beginning today and live, as you intend me to live, feeling loved by you and carrying that love to those you have placed in my life.
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