Jesus miraculously heals a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years and the plot to kill Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Obedience so he can keep and reap the blessings of the Sabbath and by growing in the Virtue of Vindication so he can accept guilt for his sins and make necessary reparations. 

Liturgy

4th Week of Lent – Tuesday – Jn 5:1-16

Commentary

Jesus returns to Jerusalem for a religious feast (likely, the Feast of Pentecost/Weeks; Lev 23:15-22), one of the pilgrim feasts men of Israel were required to make each year. Earlier, Jesus walked the 100 miles to Jerusalem and cleared the Temple, causing fury amongst the Jewish leaders; now, Jesus’ revelations at this feast will lead the Jewish leaders to begin the plot to eventually kill Him.

On the Sabbath, Jesus encounters many invalids at the large pool called Bethesda, located by the Sheep Gate (used to herd sheep into Jerusalem for sacrifice); it was believed angels periodically stirred the waters, allowing the sick to be healed if they washed in the moving waters. Jesus approaches a man who had been an invalid for 38 years, a symbolic reference to the 38 years Israel suffered in the desert after disobedience to God before they were “healed” by entering the Promised Land. As the crippled man lays on his pallet (a portable mat), Jesus asks if he wishes to be healed, but the man pessimistically laments he is unable to reach the moving waters. Without requiring the man to show any sign of faith, Jesus commands him to, “Rise, take up your pallet and walk”, and the man is healed.

Rather than worship Jesus in gratitude, the healed man walks off, carrying his pallet. Some Jews, probably Pharisees or scribes, accuse the man of breaking the Sabbath because he is carrying his pallet; The 3rd Commandment called for Sabbath rest from work and some argued almost any activity was considered “work.” When challenged for “working” on the Sabbath, the ungrateful man, who had not even learned the name of his healer, blamed Jesus. Later, Jesus finds the man in the Temple and warns him to sin no more to avoid a more devastating future punishment, a veiled reference to eternal punishment. The man, still lacking gratitude or loyalty, again betrays Jesus by telling the Jews His name, giving them more evidence in their plot to kill Jesus.

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be awed by Jesus, the Divine Priest, as He miraculously Heals the crippled man: Divine Knowledge, Jesus simply looks at the man and correctly diagnoses the cause of his 38-year paralysis; Divine Power, Jesus instantly heals the man’s atrophied legs, perfectly restoring muscle tone, strength, and coordination, allowing the man to not only walk, but carry his pallet; Divine Prudence, Jesus provocatively heals on the Sabbath to demonstrate His dominion, while temporarily avoiding direct confrontation with the Jewish leaders.

Obediently keep and reap the blessings of the Sabbath

Realize: Many men have lost sight of the great blessing of keeping the Sabbath and the mortal sin of not keeping it; keeping the Sabbath gives glory to God, draws Catholic men into fraternity, draws families together, and renews men in prayer, rest and relaxation. 

Believe: Reflect upon The 3rd Commandment (CCC 2168-2195).

Pray: Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath, help me build the Virtue of Obedience (a part of Justice) so I always obediently keep and reap the many spiritual blessings of the Sabbath. 

Accept the guilt of your sins and make reparations

Realize: Because of Original Sin, every man is a sinner who betrays Jesus by what he does (commission), and by what he fails to do (omission). 

Believe: Reflect upon the courageous Acts of the Penitent (CCC 1450-1460).

Pray: God, Father Almighty, help me build the Virtue of Vindication (a part of Justice) so I accept the guilt and confess my many sins in the beautiful Sacrament of Penance and make just reparations.