Our site uses cookies to improve the user experience and we recommend accepting its use to take full advantage of the navigation

Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

1st Reading (Ezek 47:1-9.12): The angel brought me, Ezekiel, back to the entrance of the temple of the Lord, and I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the façade of the temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the right side of the temple, south of the altar. He led me outside by the north gate, and around to the outer gate facing the east, where I saw water trickling from the right side. Then when he had walked off to the east with a measuring cord in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and had me wade through the water, which was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand and once more had me wade through the water, which was now knee-deep. Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade; the water was up to my waist. Once more he measured off a thousand, but there was now a river through which I could not wade; for the water had risen so high it had become a river that could not be crossed except by swimming.

He asked me, «Have you seen this, son of man?». Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit. Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides. He said to me: «This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah, and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh. Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine».
Responsorial Psalm: 45
R/. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.

There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High. God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed; God will help it at the break of dawn.

The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Come! behold the deeds of the Lord, the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
Versicle before the Gospel (Ps 50:12a-14a): A clean heart create for me, o God; give me back the joy of your salvation.
Gospel text (Jn 5:1-16): There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” He answered them, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a Sabbath.

“Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?”

Fr. Àngel CALDAS i Bosch (Salt, Girona, Spain)

Today, Saint John speaks of the parable of the pool of Bethzatha. It rather looked like the waiting room of a traumatology hospital. “There lay a multitude of sick people-blind, lame and paralyzed n these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled” (Jn 5:3). Jesus went up there.

It's rather curious!: Jesus manages to be found always in the middle of some problem. Wherever He goes, there is always somebody to be “liberated”; there He is when it comes to making people happy. The Pharisees, instead, were concerned only over the fact that it was Saturday. Their bad faith was killing their spirit. Sin's nasty features were showing through their eyes. There's no worse deaf man than he who does not want to hear.

The protagonist of the miracle had been disabled for thirty eight long years. “Do you want to be well?” (Jn 5:6), Jesus says to him. He had since long ago been struggling in the void for he had not found Jesus. At long last, he had found the Man. The five galleries of the pool of Bethzatha boomed out upon hearing the Master's voice: “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” (Jn 5:8). It was just a matter of an instant.

Jesus Christ's voice is the voice of God. Everything was anew with that old disabled man, spent by dejection. Much later, Saint John Chrysostom will say that in Bethzatha pool sick people cured their bodies, while in the Baptism those same sick cure their soul; over there, one only sick could eventually be cured, every now and then. Baptism however, cures always and everybody. In both cases God's power is evidenced through water.

That helpless disabled man, close to the water, does not remind you of our own helplessness to do good? How can we dare solving by ourselves that which has a supernatural scope? Don't you see, every day, around you, a big crowd of disabled ones that are “moving” themselves a lot, while being totally unable to get rid of their lack of freedom? Sin paralyzes man, grows him old, kills him... We have to fix our eyes in Jesus. We need him —his Grace— to plunge us into the waters of prayer, of confession, of the opening of our spirit. You and I may be eternal disabled persons, or, on the contrary, bearers of his light instruments.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Let us be displeased with ourselves when we sin, because sins displease God. And because we are not in fact without sin, let us at least be like God in this respect, that what displeases him displeases us.” (Saint Augustine)

  • “The Church's doors are always open. The Church is Jesus’ house and Jesus welcomes. And if the people are wounded, what does Jesus do? Does He rebuke them for being wounded? No, He comes and carries them on his shoulders. This called mercy.” (Francis)

  • “Jesus performed acts, such as pardoning sins, that manifested him to be the Saviour God himself. Certain Jews, who did not recognize God made man, saw in him only a man who made himself God (Jn 10:33), and judged him as a blasphemer.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 594)