Living in solidarity with the sick
Readings: 1st: Ez 47:1-9. 12; Ps: 45; Gos: Jn 5:1-16
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
In today’s Gospel Jesus cures a paralytic man who had waited thirty-eight years for someone to help him get into the pool of water so as to be healed! Faced with this total absence of solidarity, what did Jesus do?
Passing by that place where the poor and the sick were, Jesus noticed the dramatic situation in which the man found himself and cured him. He did not cure him to convert him. He cured him because He wanted to help him. He wanted the man to experience the love and solidarity he has lacked for thirty-eight years.
Today’s gospel also presents a new dimension to sickness. Some days ago, we saw the disciple of Christ associating sickness with sin. While in that case, Christ told them that the man’s sickness had nothing to do with sin, today, Christ reminds us that, in some cases sin can cause sickness.
So, when Jesus meets the same man again, he tells him: “Now, you are well again, do not sin any more, or something worse may happen to you.” In that age, people thought and said that, “sickness is a punishment from God. Hence, once the man is cured, he has to avoid sinning again, so that nothing worse will happen to him.
There are two lessons we may learn from today’s Gospel. The first is that, today in our world, and around us, there are many poor and sick people who are experiencing the same lack of solidarity like the paralytic man healed by Christ.
They live in total abandonment, without help or solidarity from anyone. Yet, many of us pass by them every day without noticing or even trying to give them a helping hand. If we are more charitable with our time towards them, then our world would be a better place.
The second lesson is that, at times our bad actions or sins could attract terrible consequences of pain and loneliness. In spite of this, God is always willing to restore us. However, like the paralytic, man in today’s gospel, He wishes us to keep away from returning to our old ways so that we might experience peace in our life.
Peace be with You.