Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bishop Mefody on the Sunday of the Paralytic

Here are two brief words by Bishop Mefody of Campanie (+1974) for the Sunday of the Paralytic I have translated:
Today in the Gospel we heard the story of the Lord’s healing of the paralytic. This unfortunate man had already lain for thirty-eight years. There was a pool in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate into which an Angel would descend at a certain season and trouble the water. Whoever first entered the water after the Angel had troubled the water would be healed of any ailment. The unfortunate paralytic laid by this pool, but he had no one who would lower him into the water after its troubling – someone was always lowered into the quickening waters before him.

The Lord Jesus Christ noticed the man lying there and asked him: would you like to be made well? The sick man answered that he would, but that he had no one who would help him. Then the Lord said: Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And the sick man arose, took up his bed, and walked.

Everything in this story is amazing: the greatness of God’s power; and that the Lord turned his attention to the sick man; and the vivifying waters of the pool; and the sick man himself, who had been sick for thirty-eight years without losing hope of recovery; and that he, surrounded by people, had no one who would help him.

Today, too, there is a “pool” in which people are healed and even resurrected. In this pool people are healed, above all, from spiritual illnesses and resurrected from the death of the soul. This pool is called the Church; and the healing water in it is called the grace of God. Those who desire to obtain healing of the soul must look for this, must ask for this, heeding the voice of the Church. And how important it is to have someone who can lead the sick soul to this pool.

Risen Jesus, raise our souls!


In Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate was a pool, the remains of which can be seen even now, into the water of which an Angel of the Lord would at a certain season descend and trouble the water. Whoever first plunged into it after the troubling of the waters would be healed from any ailment. Near this pool were always many who were sick, blind, and lame. Among them was an unfortunate paralytic who had already been ill for thirty-eight years. He could not by any means be the first to plunge into the water and had no one who would help him.

The Lord Jesus Christ came near this place, saw the unfortunate one, and healed him with His all-powerful word. Such is the Gospel story that we have just heard. Two points in this story draw our attention. There was no one who would help the unfortunate one. Among the people there was no one! How often this is repeated in our contemporary life and even among us: among people there is no one. People do not see his need, his affliction, his loneliness. Someone perishes in a big city, among many people, because there was no one who would help him.

Another point in the Gospel narrative: the Lord came, and saw, and helped. The paralytic also saw Him and responded to the Lord’s voice and was healed.

O, if only all the lonely among people, if all those who are exhausted and perishing would know that the Lord is near them, that He sees and is prepared to stretch out a helping hand! O, if only they, and all of us, could see this helping hand and accept the Lord into our lives! Amen.

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