In today’s reading from John’s gospel, the cure of the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethsaida sets off criticism of Jesus by Jerusalem’s leaders who accuse him of working on the Sabbath. Others before questioned their absolute proscription of Sabbath work; God, after all, maintained creation on the Sabbath, babies were born, people died, God passed judgment on that day.
But now the leaders make a greater charge– Jesus claimed to be God’s Son, saying he continued his Father’s work; he had power over life and death; he will judge the living and the dead. These are divine powers. Jesus claims to be God’s unique Son, true God, true man.
“Who do you say I am?” is a question Jesus raised then and he asks us now. That’s a question our readings from John’s gospel asks through the remainder of this week and into Holy Week.
Our readings and prayers this week recognize that God gives the gift of faith and restores it in us; John’s gospel, read from now on till after Easter at Mass, reminds us of that. The man waiting for 38 years at the pool of Bethesda, the man born blind, Nicodemus in the dark, Lazarus in the tomb are signs of the helplessness of humanity that waits for the life-giving Word of God. God alone makes the weak strong and those who have nothing live.
Waters from the temple flow through the world, yesterday’s reading from Ezechiel says. We’re not meant to be a small church.
Wednesday of the 4th week of Lent was an important day for the early church in Rome which met today at the church of St. Paul Outside the Walls with its catechumens preparing for baptism at Easter. A cross was traced on their foreheads. They were given the Apostles’ Creed and told to memorize it and reflect on it as a summary of faith. They were also given the Our Father to be prayed as their basic prayer.
I believe you are God’s Son,
true God from true God,
I believe you have come to save us.
For Morning and Evening Prayers today.