Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Today's Gospel (John 5:1-16) is in some ways very sad. It tells of a man who has been sick for 38 years, and is desperate to be healed. He sits by the one pool that is said to have miraculous powers to heal people, but only when the waters are stirred up by an angel. Unfortunately, he has no one to help him get into the pool in time, so he never makes the small window of opportunity. Then Jesus comes along and cures him. It is so sad that he had no friends, no family members who were there to help him. And then I reflected on the fact that the normal way God performs miracles is by using other people. Miracles of healing are accomplished every day by those whom God uses in the medical profession by giving them the skill and knowledge needed to help people. Miracles of feeding the hungry require those who offer not just from their surplus, but from their own need. Miracles of shelter come about when those with comfortable homes support shelters for the homeless. Miracles of peace take place when someone takes time to listen to the hurts and sorrows of a friend or a stranger. You and I are the ones that God uses to perform miracles, just as he uses people in our lives to perform miracles for us. The tricky part is that we have a choice. We can decide whether or not to do what Jesus did - to love the people who come into our lives, whether for a moment or for a lifetime. Had just one person helped that man at Bethesda, things in his life might have turned out quite differently. Now you may think "Yeah, but he did have Jesus Himself heal him, which is pretty wonderful". But I think he would have traded that experience if he had been able to live the previous 38 years as a healthy, productive man. The point of this Gospel for us, I think, is that you and I will be given opportunities today (and every day) to help God perform miracles. And without our cooperation, they may never happen. Someone's pain and suffering may never go away if we do not take the time and love them enough to nurse, feed, shelter or listen to them. We may be the only person that God asks to assist Him in making sure the miracle happens. Our help is wanted by God, my friends. The question is: Will I take the time today to respond to His request?