My Beloved the benevolent
Wishing you a blessed, acceptable, and fruitful Great Lent by the grace of our Good Lord who fasted for us forty days and forty nights. During the Holy Lent and specifically the fifth Sunday of the Great Lent, the church presents us with the story of the healing of the sick at Bethesda which is mentioned in chapter 5 of St John’s gospel. In this story, we find a paralytic man who has been unable to walk for thirty-eight years. He was at the temple by the pool of Bethesda which had the divine power to heal, thus, gathered around it were many of the sick, blind, and lame, hoping to be healed by this pool. The Bible says, “For the angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.”Jn.5:4 The paralyzed man was unable to compete with the rest of the sick to get into the water first, so he remained in this condition for 38 years with no benefit of being present by the waters of the pool. The problem was not just this man’s illness, but also that the people had abandoned him. He expressed this with sorrow when our Lord asked him, “‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’” Jn.5:6-7
The Lord Christ, in His love, cared for this sick man who did not have anyone to care for him, and He told him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk and immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked” Jn. 5:8-9 Let us compare this paralytic with another that Christ healed. His story was mentioned by St. Mark in chapter 2 of his gospel. This paralytic that Christ healed at Capernaum had four friends who cared for him. He was carried by these friends who sought to take him to Christ who, at that time, was inside a house that was so crowded that there was no space for anyone to enter. This crowd did not stop the men from finding another way to get their friend to Christ, for the Bible says, “And when they could not come near Him because of the crowed, they uncovered the roof where He was. So, when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’ ” Mk. 2:3-5 Christ had confirmed His authority by not only healing the paralytic but also forgiving his sins when He said, “‘But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins,’ He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, arise take up your bed, and go to your house.’ Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all we amazed and glorified God saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’” Mk.2:10-12
There are needy who are cared for by benevolent people who seek to fulfill their needs, and there are others who have no one to care for or remember them. Christ our Lord cared for all: the paralytic who was carried with strong faith by the four men, and he went to the paralytic who had no one. He cared for and healed both. Christ teaches us to care for all and do good to all. God gave many the love and desire to do good, like these four men who were rewarded for their faith by God who healed their friend. But there are also people in need who have no one to take care of them due to distance or concealment. There is a class of people who are neglected, either due to the complexity of their problems – so no one has the strength or desire to get involved in these complex issues – or due to the length of time required to care for them. Sometimes people get excited to help, but, over time, the excitement goes away and they want to be excused from continuing to help. For example, in the cases of the martyrs of our church, we find people anxious to help the families, but with the increase of cases of martyrdom, the excitement goes away, and we find families of martyrs who are in need and no one knows of their need or, some may know, but because of the many cases and length of time, people lose the excitement to help. Families of the martyrs need continuous care.
May the Lord teach us to care for all, especially the forgotten and neglected and those who have no one to remember them. May the Lord bless your offering to support Santa Verena Charity programs.