Christ is Risen! Today is the fourth Sunday since Pascha and is called the Sunday of the Paralytic. As the Gospel extract tells us, Christ cured a man who had been paralyzed for thirty – eight years.
In Jerusalem, at the sheep’s pool, there was a lake that had five sheltered areas. And from time to time, an Angel of the Lord would come down to the lake and stir up the waters. Whoever managed to get into the lake first was cured. There were very many sick people there, as is always the case with those who are ill, and they bear their cross, as do their family members if they exist.
So, some people took the paralytic to the lake and left him there, alone and helpless. The Merciful Lord, who had gone up to Jerusalem – He would go up quite often – went directly there, because His eye had seen this man, and He admired his patience and his goodness, as his disease had made him both patient and calm. Many times, disease can become a great cure for our souls and our lives. Because the Lord sees everything, the present and the future of our lives, He went up to the man and asked him if he wanted to be healed. And the man answered politely: “Yes, Lord, I do, but I have no-one to put me in the water when the Angel stirs the water and before I can get there another goes in”.
The Lord liked the reply as the man had spoken in pain, yet politely and calmly. He did not condemn anyone else, he simply described what was happening. Then the Lord said to him: “Arise, take up your bed and walk”. The man obeyed and showed great trust in the Lord. His soul was open due to the pain and difficulty he endured because pain makes us open to all and he was ready to receive the Grace of God. And with the help of divine power, he got up – he was not cured by the waters, but by the Lord’s power – and he took his bed and walked, so that the reality of the miracle could be revealed and so that no-one would think it was his imagination.
The evil Jews began to condemn him. Most of them knew him, but none had done anything in the thirty-eight years to help him, and now that he was well, they condemned him. Because he was carrying his bed. Instead of admiring the miracle and giving thanks for it, and to seek Him who had accomplished it, they began the eternal moan, which many of us also have and make people suffer.
What did the man say when they condemned him? “The man who made me well, told me to pick up my bed. You neither made me well, nor did you show me any love. So rather say nothing, and leave me alone”. He then went to Solomon’s temple to thank God and continued going often.
On one of these days, Jesus Christ met him there and said to him: “If you wish it, do not sin again, because through your sins you remained paralyzed for thirty-eight years. If you continue to sin you may even lose your life and be condemned to eternal condemnation”.
He was so excited at meeting his benefactor that he ran directly to the Jews and said to them: “Jesus made me well”. He was so grateful and so overjoyed; more overjoyed because his soul had been resurrected and he had met the Miracle Maker, than because he had been healed. That is how it is. When we find Christ, who is Risen from the dead, that is when we celebrate, that is when we are happy and find ourselves in Paradise from now.
Christ is Risen!