Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
"There lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed."
The Greek words indicate how we often feel ourselves. We feel blind in that we don’t see clearly or are in a smoky fog. We experience lameness in that we can’t seem to move in life. We feel paralyzed in that we feel ourselves dried up as in the original Greek meaning of the word "zeros". Then Jesus asked the magic question, "Do you want to be healed?" This is an idiom in the Greek meaning, "Do you want to be healthy?"
The man in the Gospel was not very ambitious and probably preferred to lay there another 38 years blaming others for not helping him. But it was a scam for him because he really had no desire to be healed. Jesus lost patience with him and told him to "rise, take up your palette and walk." Far from being thankful the man told on Jesus for healing on the Sabbath and caused him lots of trouble with religious leaders.
They tell the story of three fishermen – Bill, Ron and Bob. Jesus appeared to them on the water. Bill said, "Is that you Jesus?" "Yes, my son" Jesus replied. Bill said, "Can you heal my back?" Jesus touched him and healed him. Ron seeing this said to Jesus, "Can you fix my shoulder. I can hardly cast a line." "Certainly" Jesus said and touched his shoulder and healed him. Now all the while, Bob is getting very nervous and said to Jesus, "Don’t get any closer and don’t touch me because I am on total disability."
Jesus does not want us on total disability. It takes the boldness of the Holy Spirit to ask for healing. We probably prefer to lie around and do nothing. With healing there must come a sincere desire for life and holiness.
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.