March 24, 2020 – 4th Week of Lent

“Delaying no more, in drawing closer to the Streams of Graces and Healing!”

(Based on Ez 47:1-9,12 and Jn 5:1-3, 5-16)

The entrance of a particular church once had a large banner that had large, bold letters printed on it.

The words in this banner, read thus: Those people who expect salvation at the eleventh hour…
… often die at 10:30!

Postponement in spiritual matters, is indeed a perilous matter!

Procrastination – the tendency to postpone/delay – is an inclination that is to be greatly avoided in our spiritual journey.

Life often takes us through paralyzing and crippling situations

And this may cause us to often “delay or postpone”

But the Gospel of the Day is a mighty reminder on how we ought to not postpone…
… rather be “proactive” in our spiritual life.

The Gospel passage is a beautiful presentation of this aspect:  On how to have our heads raised up, in hope and trust, despite many crushing and crippling causes in life.

Jesus is in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. As he passed through the town, he came near a pool, named Bethzatha.

Jesus encounters a person there, who has been ill for a very long period… thirty eight years! (Jn 5:5)

We are not exactly told what illness was it…

Probably a paralyzing illness…
… a cripple of the legs
… or even a combination of many other sicknesses.

But one thing is known: this sickness made the person to not walk!

The sickness had immobilized him.

But more than his physical body, it seems, that the sickness had crippled also his mind:

His way of thinking seemed jammed in having hope in life…
His outlook to life seemed blurred to see optimism and hope…
His perspective of people seemed to distort his confidence and trust…

When Jesus questions the man, “Do you want to be well?”, the man answers not with a positive affirmation or an optimistic assertion.

Instead he begins to get into a complaining and a pitiable mode, ” Sir, I have no one…” (Jn 5: 7)

A ray of hope was offered to him…
… but instead the man continued to see only the dark clouds.

A glimpse of joy was revealed to him…
… but instead the man persisted on the sad aspects alone.

The long period of sickness had blotted his vision and faded his hopes.

But the Lord.. the ever-challenging God, does not allow the man to remain in this unfortunate and “look-on-me-with-sympathy-please” mode…

Instead, Jesus charges him, “Rise, take up your mat and walk” (Jn 5:8)

And immediately the man became well, took up his mat and walked!

The presence of the Lord vanished away the man’s doubts and lame excuses…
The mighty word of the Lord purged away the man’s feelings of looking at life negatively…

The man who had the tendency to probably “procrastinate – delay and postone”…
… now becomes “proactive!”

The man became proactive…
… casting away his attitude of complaining to become a person of courage
… dropping off his crippling attitude of “none-to-help” and picking up the mat of power and grace

Problems beset each of us in this world.

  Difficulties surround all of us, at various times and situations

But, the one who is “proactive” in life, is able to get over these “paralyzing” factors of life!

Jesus gives us this courage and the hope to “not postpone or delay” matters connected to our spiritual life

Such a pro-active action is spurred by the mighty love and mercy of the Lord.
Such a pro-active move is an approach, impelled by a tremendous faith and hope in the Lord.

You and I, very often may find ourselves in crippling situations of life.

We may keep on lying down
We may keep on being a “complaint-box”
We may keep on postponing our good and only blame people and situations

Or…

We may raise up our heads to see the Lord challenging us to walk
We may garner strength and courage and be bold to pick up our mats of suffering
We may imbue ourselves with the Lord’s power to never let anything cripple our minds

We are invited to draw Power and Strength from the living streams of God’s Grace, offered to us, in the Sacraments…
…and in particular, in this time of immense struggle and challenge, through various acts of devotion especially the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Devotional Reading of the Bible, Chaplet of the Divine Mercy etc.

Through Prophet Ezekiel, we are reminded and encouraged to understand that where the Waters of God’s Grace flows, there is life and healing:
“And wherever the river goes, every living creature which swarms will live, and there will be very many fish; for this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh…
… so everything will live where the river goes.

And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month…
… because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.” (Ez 47:9,12)

Let us delay no more, in drawing closer to these Streams of Graces and Healing!

Yes, Postponement in spiritual matters, is indeed a perilous matter!

Let’s remember: Those people who expect salvation at the eleventh hour…
… often die at 10:30!

Shall we be ready, “to rise, take up our mats, and walk?”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “We all have a vocation.

We believe that God has called us to this state of life to fill a special need that no one else can accomplish!”

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