Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection March 12, 2024


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R/. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

V/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

V/.Create a pure heart for me, O God; restore in me the joy of your salvation.

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterwards Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.

1.      In both the readings, from Ezekiel and John’s gospel, we have the mention of water. In the former, it is a temple river and in the gospel, it is a pool. What is common is that the water is resurging and healing. Where the river flows, everything lives, remains fresh, grows, and bears fruits. And the pool heals every invalid that gets into it.

2.       This water symbolizes God’s grace. It is always flowing and available. But, many do not get to it because they are invalid. This invalidity is no more the physical but the spiritual. It is by sin. That is why, Jesus tells the healed invalid, “Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you”.

3.       We need not infer that he was invalid because he sinned. It is a possibility. But what is more important here to note is Sin makes us invalid. It makes us immobile and tepid toward God’s grace. Sin sickens and invalidates us.

4.       We need to seek healing by throwing ourselves into the waters of grace. The length of 38 years of invalidity is shocking. The man had been there by the side of the healing pool for 38 years and still could not get healing.

5.       This length of duration shows the insensitivity of the people who did not help him into the pool. The invalid man lost in this heavy competition for healing. On the other hand, we must also appreciate his persistence and undying hope. He never gives up hope and never stops trying.

6.       The question of Jesus, “Do you want to be healed?” looks silly because who does not want to be healed? Here the point is we need to personally desire to be healed. We need to feel the need to be healed.

7.       We must desire to get up from our beds and start walking. We need to shake off our lethargy to glue to our beds of negligence, indifference, and sloth.

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