Even though the Gospel stories are read over and over through the liturgical season every year there are new ways of hearing it that grab our attention. This time my attention was caught on the introduction to a passage from the Gospel of John, Chapter 5.
Jesus went to Jerusalem for a feast. I am not a biblical scholar; however, I’ll make an assertion that a feast involves much pomp and circumstance and one that would gather powerful and influential men of the day. That is what struck me about St. John’s passage. There was a feast and where was Jesus? He was “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” (John 5:2). The Gospel continues with Jesus healing a man crippled for over thirty years, but it’s hard to believe he popped in for one miracle. Rather, I imagine Jesus arrived early and went about the porticoes talking with the people sitting there, proclaiming the Word of God through his teachings and laying his healing touch on many of them.
Contemplating Jesus’ choice, I find the edifying example to make myself present to those in need, preach the gospel through words and actions. We never know what good deeds we are capable of or the light we bring into another persons life unless we are mindful of those around us and prayerfully consider how we can provide an actual of spiritual or corporeal mercy.