Time For a Change?
Malvern Minute


A Minute from Malvern – Time for a Change?
March 13, 2018 – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

A clean heart create for me, O God; give me back the joy of your salvation.

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)
For more information, visit: www.MalvernRetreat.com
Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (5:1-16):

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”

He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.'”
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”

The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a Sabbath.

Reflect: Do you want to be well? The obvious answer is, “yes!”  Who doesn’t want to be well? Nonetheless, the man that Jesus encounters at the healing pool of Bethesda has been in this state for 38 years. The man at the pool might be a reflection of us. The man stayed on the periphery. Couldn’t he have found a way to get closer to the healing waters over almost four decades? Clearly, he could not have done it on his own. He stayed entrenched in his condition, just waiting for the day. Maybe he was seeking help from the wrong people, or looking to the wrong places. Maybe the man was comfortable and didn’t want to risk taking the plunge into the healing water. Whatever the case, it took an encounter from Jesus for his life to change. He is finally free from that burden. At the same time, however, Jesus returns to remind him: “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.”  He was to avoid a return to the same life patterns and daily choices that kept him burdened with illness for many years. It was time to make a permanent change. Surprisingly, the people who surrounded the man weren’t pleased. Instead of giving thanks to God for his healing, they challenge him regarding an unlawful act on the Sabbath – carrying his mat. We see that they were displeased with Jesus and “they began to persecute Jesus because he did this on the Sabbath.” On the day dedicated to God, God intervened and was in their midst, yet the crowd wanted to condemn not only the cured man but also Jesus. Especially during this holy season of Lent, Jesus is calling us to the fullness of life. Do we want to accept his love and mercy and start anew? Do we encourage others to get closer to Jesus and to grow in holiness? May the Lord grant us the grace to get well spiritually with the desire to remain close to him forever. He wants us to desire him more than our sin, and to develop a maturity of faith that is a light to others. Do we want that? Do we want to be healed?

.Questions: Am I willing to leave the periphery to encounter Jesus up close? Do I desire to leave behind the “comfortableness” of my sin to grow in the ways of Jesus? Do I encourage and support others in their pursuit of holiness or do I somehow hold them back or cripple their progress in faith?

.Pray: Loving God, you are the Divine Healer. Take away my resistance. Shape my heart to accept you, and desire to stay close to you at all moments of my life.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen


All who are thirsty, come to the waters, says the Lord. Though you have no money, come and drink with joy.


ENCOUNTERING DIVINE PHYSICIAN (see Gospel of Mark 5:21-43)

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