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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, day 24

“Do you want to be well?” This is what Jesus asks the man in today’s Gospel. But rather than give Jesus a quick “yes!” he gives excuses: “I have no one to put me in the pool” and “Someone else gets there before me.” Perhaps he was accustomed to being sick, and it was easier just to remain ill.

Often when I’m giving retreats, people will tell me about some problem they’re having and ask for advice. I’ll offer a suggestion, but often the person will tell me why and how the suggestion won’t work. I call this the “yes, but” response: “Yes, but you see, my situation is different.” “Yes, but you don’t understand.”

Like the man in the Gospel, some people become accustomed to their problems. Resolving them would bring new challenges, new responsibilities they may not want to face. They may complain about their problems, but they’d much rather complain than fix them. It’s just easier.

This Lent, Jesus asks each of us, “Do you want to be well?” “Do you want your sins forgiven?” “Do you want to be healed and made whole?”

Are we willing to accept the challenges and responsibilities that forgiveness brings? Or will we say, “Yes, but . . .”

Father Gerard H. Chylko, C.Ss.R.

Scripture readings for today: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12; Psalm 46; John 5:1-16