“Rising… taking up our mats… and walking!”
(Based on Ezek 47:1-9, 12 and Jn 5:1-3, 5-16 – Tuesday of the 4th Week in Lent)
“The seven habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey is one of the most popular best-selling book in the world.
The book speaks of seven prime qualities to tap success in life and to achieve one’s objectives and aims.
The first among these seven habits of highly effective people is “to be proactive” in life.
Problems beset every person in this world.
Difficulties surround all of us, in every society.
But, the one who is “proactive” in life, is able to get over these “paralyzing” factors of life.
The Gospel of the Day 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 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 be “proactive” in life, with His grace and mercy.
Pro-activity is not a mere human attitude of determination…
… it is an action spurred by the mighty love and mercy of the Lord.
Pro-activity is not a mere individual display of willpower and resolve…
… it 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 blaming people and situations…
We can raise up our heads to see the Lord challenging us to walk…
We can garner strength and courage and be bold to pick up our mats of suffering…
Shall we be ready, “to rise, take up our mats, and walk?”
The choice is ours…
God Bless! Live Jesus!
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE LITURGY – WORK OF THE HOLY TRINITY – The Father-Source and Goal of the Liturgy
In the Church’s liturgy the divine blessing is fully revealed and communicated.
The Father is acknowledged and adored as the source and the end of all the blessings of creation and salvation. In His Word Who became incarnate, died, and rose for us, He fills us with his blessings. Through his Word, he pours into our hearts the Gift that contains all gifts, the Holy Spirit.
The dual dimension of the Christian liturgy as a response of faith and love to the spiritual blessings the Father bestows on us is thus evident.
On the one hand, the Church, united with Her Lord and “in the Holy Spirit,” blesses the Father “for His inexpressible gift in Her adoration, praise, and thanksgiving.
On the other hand, until the consummation of God’s plan, the Church never ceases to present to the Father the offering of his own gifts and to beg him to send the Holy Spirit upon that offering, upon herself, upon the faithful, and upon the whole world…
… so that through communion in the death and resurrection of Christ the Priest, and by the power of the Spirit, these divine blessings will bring forth the fruits of life “to the praise of his glorious grace!” (CCC # 1082-83)