John 5:6-7 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 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 making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”
When I was diagnosed, several years ago, I was both relieved and very sad at the same time. I felt relief when the doctors finally found out what was wrong with me. But at the same time, I was crushed because it meant my whole life would change, my dreams and aspirations as well. I had to stop working and could no longer go on with my future study and career plans. I would not be able to function and work normally again. It took some time before I could fully accept the new realities of my life. Many of my well meaning friends gave me different advises. I had to offer Mass; pray more novenas, go to this pilgrim site, make a devotion to this Saint and to this Saint. I did all those things and more. After a while, my condition was still the same. I heard some said things like, maybe there is a sin in your life which you have not repented? Maybe you’re paying for your parents sin? And yes, I was also asked, “do you really wish to be well? Maybe you did not wish it enough?” Of course I do! But nothing seemed to changed. I cried to God and prayed more fervently. Surely something must be wrong with me and what I was supposed to do. Until I just gave up. I just didn’t care anymore.
When you hit rock bottom, find yourself in a pit, tried all possible ways to overcome the hardships without any results… it’s just tiring. At some point you begin to doubt, to loose hope and to loose the will to fight. You give in or give up. You just surrender. It is in that moment that you have a choice: either to give in to despair and bitterness or give up and surrender everything to God. The man in the pool (although I cannot blame him and fully understand how it must have felt being sick for 38 years!) was so focused on his own miseries and his inabilities to attain his goal, that he didn’t even recognized the greatest healer of all standing right in front of him. The One who could heal him both physically and spiritually, one who could make him whole.
Since Sunday, the gospel readings are about healing. This Lenten season, God reminds us to acknowledge our sinfulness and diseases. Jesus comes to heal us of all our diseases, forgive our sins and free us from bondage. And Jesus comes to heal us no matter what our circumstances, regardless of day or time, or if it was politically correct or not. He comes because He loves us so much and wants us to be well.