After this there was a Jewish festival, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate in the north city wall is a pool with the Aramaic name Bethsaida. It had five covered porches, and a crowd of people who were sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed sat there. A certain man was there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, knowing that he had already been there a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
The sick man answered him, “Sir, I don’t have anyone who can put me in the water when it is stirred up. When I’m trying to get to it, someone else has gotten in ahead of me.”
Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Immediately the man was well, and he picked up his mat and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.
The Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It’s the Sabbath; you aren’t allowed to carry your mat.”
He answered, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
They inquired, “Who is this man who said to you, ‘Pick it up and walk’?” The man who had been cured didn’t know who it was, because Jesus had slipped away from the crowd gathered there.
Later Jesus found him in the temple and said, “See! You have been made well. Don’t sin anymore in case something worse happens to you.” The man went and proclaimed to the Jewish leaders that Jesus was the man who had made him well.
Today’s reading has a clash between G_d’s Realm and the religious institution of the day. G_d, working through Jesus, healed a man from his paralysis and the religious overlords wanted to know why he was breaking religious doctrine by carrying his mat!
How many times has the spiritual growth of people of faith been stunted by the “rules created by humans” (Mark 7.8)? I would wager a lot. Sometimes, empirical religious systems are put in place to keep people from experiencing the Divine. “If it doesn’t look like how we think it should look, then it most certainly can’t be from G_d!”
As I’ve grown in my walk with Christ, I don’t have that view any longer. Now, I look for Christ in the middle of the Unknown. I may not understand something, it may be completely different from what I’m used to, but I have adopted an idea that G_d is bigger than I can comprehend. G_d may be taking some people down a different path than I. Sometimes, people may just be making a huge mistake. But, instead of taking that view from the beginning, I listen. I pray that Christ is speaking to them in the midst of their journey’s. I mean, if Christ can speak to me on my journey, he can speak to others, as well. And, quite honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was the one who was mistaken and they are the ones who were spot on. It’s happened before.
The idea, then, is for us to not be so quick to judge what’s “of G_d” or not just because it doesn’t match our current understanding. G_d may be using this new experience to show us another facet of the great Mystery.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC