In Saint John’s Gospel, Our Lord sometimes asks strange questions or makes puzzling statements. For example, in today’s passage Our Lord asks a man who has been paralyzed for 38 years if he wants to be healed. The man doesn’t respond with an eager ‘yes please’ but simply complains that no one is ever around to place him in the pool. After he heals the man, Our Lord tells him to give up his sins so that something worse doesn’t overtake him. The man doesn’t even express his appreciation, he just goes off and gets on with his life. Clearly Our Lord, or Saint John, knows more about this man than we do.
Our Lord invites the man to a new life with God, to a life that is more than being able to move again. What will that new life look like? Saint John doesn’t answer that question in specific terms for this once-paralyzed man, but he does describe that new life through Our Lord’s teachings. For example, we hear about the need for Our Lord’s disciples to remain united to him, about the need to love one another and to express it through acts of sacrificial service, about the need to listen to God’s word and to be obedient and faithful to his will.
We may ask how Our Lord invites us to new life today. Is he inviting us to perform some act of service we may have considered but never actually done? Is he encouraging us to take the first step towards reconciliation with someone from whom we are estranged? Is there some way that God may be trying to give us new life while we resist him?
The Mass is a pledge of God’s tremendous love for us; accepting that love will lead to many positive changes in our lives. This is why we place the Mass at the centre of our entire day. Everything else we do revolves around what we do right here and right now.