Readings: Ezekiel 47:1-9,12, Ps. 46:2-3,5-6,8-9ab, John 5:1-3,5-16

“See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” (John 5:14)

To the man Jesus healed by the pool of Bethzatha, he said: “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” In a similar vein to those who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate mixed with their sacrifices, he said: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered thus? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish...” (Luke 13:2-5). This brings us to today’s lessons:

1. Sin Predisposes us to Danger: As much as God is not interested in the sinner's death, the truth is that something about sin predisposes us to danger. As we see in the story of the prodigal son, sin takes us away from the Father’s house; it removes us from God's protective embrace. We soon find ourselves at the mercy of the devil and his agents, like the son who hired himself to strangers who wouldn’t even give him food.

2. Sin is Death: Jesus warned the man who had been cured to avoid sin so that nothing worse would happen to him. What else could be worse than suffering for thirty-eight years? What else could be worse than spending half of your lifespan in pain, discomfort, and misery? This is exactly what sin does to us. The book of Proverbs says: “Can a man carry fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk upon hot coals and his feet not be scorched?” (Proverbs 6:27-28).

3. Never Get Used to Sinful Habits: Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to be healed?” This is a very important question. It is a question that Jesus also addresses: “Do you want to come out of that life of unnecessary pain and sorrow?” As terrible as sin is, there comes a time when we become so used to sin that we begin to enjoy that which should ordinarily give us sleepless nights. We reach a point when we assume it is impossible to live differently.

4. Jesus Wants to Help You: The man told Jesus how he had often tried without success to get into the water once it was stirred. The man remained there for thirty-eight years, hoping he would one day enter the pool before anyone else. You may have been trying unsuccessfully to overcome the same sin. Don’t give up. You may have failed countless times, but let your answer to Jesus’ question remain: “Yes, I want to be healed.” Repentance is Healing. When a bad habit, like a wound, has lasted so long, stopping it becomes impossible without surgery. We need to surrender ourselves to God for total healing.

5. Tap into Divine Power: Jesus taught that He is there wherever two or more persons gather in His name. The church is not simply a building; it is a place of divine encounter, and it takes God to open our eyes to see this. In today’s first reading, God opened Ezekiel's eyes to see a river flowing from the temple sanctuary. God said to him: “This water flows toward the eastern region and … wherever the river goes every living creature which swarms will live, and there will be very many fish; for this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so, everything will live where the river goes.” (Ezekiel 47:8-9). Drink this living water if you seek healing from the trap of sin. Return to God today, and He will surely grant you healing.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, may the dry bones within us receive life again. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of the 4th week of Lent. Bible Study: Ezekiel 47:1-9,12, Ps. 46:2-3,5-6,8-9ab, John 5:1-3,5-16).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu