Reading can be found at USCCB
What could be more simple than an act of kindness toward a crippled man who had seen more than his fair share of suffering? What kind of person are you?
John’s Gospel tells the story of a cripple who had been ill for thirty-eight years! When Jesus saw the man he asked but one simple question, “Do you want to be well?” The only thing the man needed was someone who cared enough to put him into the water when it was stirred. Something so simple. Why didn’t anyone care enough to do it? Selfishness, it seems. Others were pushing their way ahead of the cripple–no doubt thinking their own needs greater than that of others.
Therein lies the great lie and sadness of our day. We live in a world where sadness, suffering, and pain are all around us. Millions of people starving to death while the same millions are living in abundance. With motto’s like, “get yours,” “look out for #1,” and “he who dies with the most toys wins” (on my high school counselor’s wall many years ago), it’s no wonder that we are, as others were then, so willing to turn a blind eye to the cry of the poor in our midst. We are entirely convinced that we “aren’t enough” and don’t have enough. We seek bigger, latest, greatest, new and improved! Those who are convinced of their cup being half empty can never be moved to share what “little” they have with others.
The disciple of Christ cannot think only of his own needs, his own wants, his own pain, for to do so would both fail to recognize, appreciate, and give thanks for the gifts he has received, while at the same time would invariably close him off to the good that he is called to do for others with the blessings he has received! There is nothing more dangerous to the solidarity of the human family than selfishness and greed.
The gospel calls us to appreciate what we have and do all that we can to live simply and selflessly amidst a selfish and perverse generation. Let us live simply that others may simply live.