In Church tradition, yesterday was the Sunday of the Paralytic. The story of Jesus healing a paralytic man is told in the Gospel of John.
The healing occurred at the site of a pool called Bethesda. The pool was said to bubble up periodically, and when it did it had healing powers. The narrative tells us that many people were around the pool – all sick, disabled, and suffering. This was a place of the invalids and paralyzed; a place of the blind and the lame – all there hoping to be healed. Hoping that when the waters bubbled up, they would be the ones who would walk away whole.
Into this story comes a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. We aren’t given many details of his life other than this one. He was paralyzed. He was not whole or well. While I may currently live in a country where there is a constant fight for the rights of the disabled, I have lived many years in countries where the disabled are outcasts. They are the marginalized of society, without rights, without hope. This was the reality for this man. He was not a fully functioning member of society. Instead, he was at the margins, by the side of this pool.
I know this story well. I have heard it since I was a child. But yesterday I was struck all over again by the words “Do you want to be healed?” spoken by Jesus. And I realize these are the words he has asked people through the centuries —
“Do you want to be healed?”
It’s the same for us. We sit, often for years, with our paralysis. It may not be physical paralysis, but it is just as debilitating and defeating as physical paralysis. It prevents us from truly living, from being who we are called to be.
Jesus extends his hand and says to us “Pick up your bed, your stuff, your past, your background, your hurt, your anger, your very life — and walk”
With hand outstretched he offers his grace for the hard work of healing. May today be yet another day of walking in that grace.
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