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March 24 - John 5: 1 - 16

Fr. Michael MachacekNativity of Our LordMarch 25, 2020
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For the readings of today's mass, please go to

https://www.livingwithchrist.ca/images/article_images/pdf/March_24_LWC_March2020-lowres-3.pdf

As well, starting today, after the reflection, I will be providing a prayer or link that hopefully will find helpful during this time of great turmoil.

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Today's gospel is a story set in Jerusalem, near the Temple, at the pool that in English is called Bethesda. Here Jesus encounters a man who has been ill for 38 years.

When Jesus meets him, he asks a question that at first glance seems rather strange and silly - and he gets an answer that also seems strange and silly. Let's take a closer look.

Jesus asked, "Do you want to be made well?" Any cynic would immediately reply, "Duh - what do you think? Of course I want to be made well." But strangely, the man doesn't respond with a big, loud "Yes!" For that matter, he doesn't say no, either. Instead, he comes up with an excuse as to why he is still ill.

Jesus' question to the man in many ways is a question for all of us. For each one of us there is at least one aspect of our lives that needs to be made well. It could be a relationship that needs to be mended. It could be an addiction that refuses to be recognized and dealt with. It may be a refusal to change a behaviour that is causing pain to ourselves and others. It could be a struggle with our faith that we don't want to face up to. You can add your own examples.

In turn, we can be like the ill man, How? By our own unwillingness to really want to be healed. For the ill man, it was the excuse that others would cut in front of him before he could get into the pool. After 38 years one would think he could come up with a solution to solve this issue. But no, he remains unhealed by his inability to adapt and face up to what is happening. We too, like him, can come up with a myriad of excuses as to why we cannot change. An example for you - I have witnessed countless cases of people who go for counselling, and finally when confronted with the truth of their situation, rather than acting on a solution that is provided, they either quit the counselling, because that solution will seemingly require too much time or energy or time, or else they go to another counsellor whom they hope will tell them what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear.

"Do you want to be made well?" Will we say, Yes!? And most importantly, are we willing to help make it happen?

Lord, give us the strength, the courage, the faith and the will to make it happen.

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On Wednesday, March 11th, Pope Francis offered a prayer to the Virgin Mary in a video message. This message was shared at the start of a mass celebrated at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Divine Love near Rome to mark the Diocese of Rome’s day of prayer and fasting for the coronavirus emergency.  In a statement from Holy See Press Office, it was shared that the Pope wanted to entrust the city of Rome, all of Italy, and “the entire world to the protection of the Mother of God, as a sign of salvation and hope” during the ongoing coronavirus emergency. The text of the prayer follows:

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick. At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus' pain, with steadfast faith.

You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.

We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee, joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the Father's will and to do what Jesus tells us.

He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.

Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.