Scripture: 1st Reading: Ezek47,1-9,12; Resp. Psalm: Ps46,2-3,5-6,8-9; Gosp. Accl.: Ps51,10,12; Gospel: Jn5,1-16
Many of us abandon the search once the going goes tough. We lose heart and throw in the towel if the answer tarries in coming. We should read and re-read today's gospel for a renewal of courage and strength in the face of such situations of life.
The word of God today recounts our Lord's encounter with a helpless and sick man who had been lying ill for thirty eight years. This man had spent thirty eight years of unrelenting search for a cure. In spite of this, he was undeterred. He knew that as long as God lived, he would never be forgotten; he knew his time would come.
The helplessness of this man was exacerbated by the fact that he had no one to put him into the pool when the water was troubled. While he was attempting to go in, someone would step in before him. This man should have been frustrated by his past failures. But he was not! That singular doggedness, persistence and insistence on not letting go of his healing led him to Jesus that day that changed his life.
With one sentence of divine command, our Lord told him to rise, take his pallet and walk, and it was so. These waters that flowed under the portico of Solomon in the temple was the one Ezekiel prophesied about in today's first reading. The waters of this water freshened the waters of stagnant seas, bring life and abundance to the creatures that live in it, provide nourishment for the trees that grow beside the river where it flowed into, and the leaves of such trees give healing.
Our Lord gave the water that brings life in the Sacrament of Baptism. As our Lord slept the sleep of death on the cross, blood and water flowed from His side, the origin of the sacraments of the Church. In the Sacrament of Baptism, our sins are washed away, we become children of God and members of the Church.
With the Sacrament of Baptism, we are removed from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of light. With that Sacrament, the Spirit of the Living God was given to us, we became adopted children of God, crying out "Abba, Father." This grace of new life that we received at our Baptism will be given to catechumens preparing for the Sacraments of initiation on Holy Saturday night, the Vigil of the Resurrection.
Lent is a time given to us to do an introspection on our journey of faith. Have we become fainthearted in the meantime? Are we still zealous as in the beginning of our journey? Are we discouraged by the negative events of life that we are beginning to think that perseverance is worth nothing?
Let us learn from the man in today's gospel. Let us learn from him perseverance and doggedness. Let us learn from him commitment and persistence. Let us not give up, especially as we battle against sin and weaknesses this Lent.
Let us pray: "May the venerable exercises of holy devotion shape the hearts of your faithful, O Lord, to welcome worthily the paschal mystery and proclaim the praises of your salvation." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.