Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
John 5:1-3, 5-16
Haridwar is a pilgrimage city in the Haridwar District of Uttarakhand, India. It is associated with both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Haridwar is among the seven sacred cities of India. It is also one of the four venues for the Kumbh Mela, held in its magnitude every twelve years where the Ganges enters the plains is a very religious, Hindu spot. Millions of people gather there, put ashes on their body and bathe in the river Ganges to wash away their sins and be liberated from the chain cycle of life – birth, death, and rebirth. Every human person’s heart wants to cleanse oneself from sinfulness -like the Hindus bathing in the river Ganges.
In Jerusalem, there was a pool by the Sheep Gate, where it is believed that anyone who dips in first when the water is stirred would be healed. There were many who were blind, lame and paralyzed who were laying at the porticos. Among them, Jesus meets a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years and could not get into the water before others and tells him, "Pick up your mat and walk." Immediately he began to walk and experienced healing in his life. Jesus, instead of throwing the paralyzed man into the waters of the pool, cures him by the strength of his word: "Pick up your mat and walk." The man does not even know who cured him. Jesus’ salvation is a free gift for all who believe in the power of his word and want to be cured of their many paralyses.
When we approach Jesus in faith, He heals us as he healed the man who was sick for 38 years. We are also called to take this blessing in other people’s lives – as the river of God’s grace that flows in our lives. In Palestine, the river Jordan always mixes good water into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea allows no living creatures to live in it because it does not give to others what it has received. As Christians we are invited to share the grace that God blesses us with and not hold onto ourselves. This miracle of Jesus in our life is a grace-filled event which demands an active response from us, a response that has to effect the whole of our life.
Fr. A. Justin Nelson, CP, is a member of our Indian Vicariate and temporarily stationed at St. Mary’s Parish, Fairfield, Alabama.