Father Rodney Torbic

April 16 / 29, 2018

The Sunday of the Paralytic

John 5:1-15

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. (KJV)

The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ continues to be celebrated in God’s Holy Church. A certain order exists in the Sunday Gospels between Pascha and Pentecost. The Church intends to communicate particular messages.

The same Gospel is read in all the churches on each given Sunday. Believers benefit from being attentive to the structure of the liturgical year. The particular Gospel and Epistle readings are intended to impact the lives of the faithful.

Lives change when individuals take the readings to heart and incorporate them into their lives. The present Gospel reading focuses on a pool in Jerusalem where healing was known to take place.

When considering this Gospel, it is good to be mindful that healings still take place in parish churches and monasteries. The Lord Jesus Christ brings about the healing of a paralytic in this particular Gospel reading.

Every person is a paralytic to a degree, paralyzed by personal sin. Jesus makes a difference in each individual life welcoming Him. The particular pool in the current Gospel apparently was known as a location for healing.

Parish churches and monasteries also are known as places of healing. The Gospel of St. John identified the sick, the blind, the lame and the paralyzed as being at the pool in anticipation of being healed.

Contemporary individuals seeking healing for illness from sin, blinded by sin, restricted in mobility by sin and paralyzed by sin also draw near to churches and monasteries in anticipation of healing.

On Great and Holy Wednesday many believers come to the Service of Holy Unction in hopes of getting healed. Many believers make pilgrimages to sites where weeping icons are located seeking healing of soul and body.

In the present Gospel the appearance of angel signaled the time of healing arrived. Each believer has a guardian angel holding a special place in his or her life.

Healing is possible in Christ. Healing can take the form of physical healing and healing of the soul. Healing of the soul can take place without any noticeable change in physical condition.

A healing of the soul will result in a different view and understanding of the physical condition. Whenever healing takes place, giving appreciation to God is in order.

The man of particular interest in the current Gospel had his condition for thirty-eight years. Imagine the brain activity required to contend with his infirmity. Imagine the tests of patience and frustration the man had to contend with.

One has to wonder about the effects on the man’s sense of hope that healing would ever take place. The Lord Jesus Christ interceded in the man’s life. Jesus asked the important question: “Do you want to be made well?”

The expected answer from most people would be “yes”. Everyone sins and not everyone wants to give up their sinful ways. There are individuals who know about the Lord Jesus Christ and resist saying “yes” to the healing power of Christ.

Jesus makes a difference in the lives of individuals coming to Him in faith. This man definitely wanted to be made well. He simply had been unable to get into the water when the healing could take place.

Perhaps there are people wanting to come to church but do not have a way to get there. Outreach is necessary as Jesus showed in the present Gospel. Many people hunger for the healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christians have a responsibility to reach out in love to help the hungry of soul and body. Jesus told the man to “Rise, take up you bed and walk.” The statement was clear and definitive.

The words carried the healing power of God. The man heard these precious words and his life changed forever. Jesus had come into the man’s life and the man’s life became new in Christ.

The paralytic was open to the healing power of Christ. He did not resist Christ. Christ made an immediate difference in the man’s life. Christ will always make an immediate difference in the lives of individuals welcoming Him.

The difference may not always be as noticeable as occurred in the life of the paralytic. Individuals welcoming Christ into their hearts, minds and souls will sense the difference and will know that they are different.

The healing of the paralytic was a moment for rejoicing. The healing of the paralytic established a basis for hope for succeeding generations. Let us always draw near to Christ in hope for healing of soul and body.

April 2 / 15, 2018
The Sunday of the Paralytic.
Holy Virgin-Martyrs Agape, Chionia and Irene.

Fr. Rodney Torbic
Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania

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