Pondering the fifth chapter of John’s Gospel

thumbnail9Wow!  A big change taking place in Rome, with ripple effects throughout the world, even reaching to places which the Psalms call “the distant coastlands”, one being where WE live, here on the opposite side of the earth from Christ’s vicar.  Pope Benedict, in his statement on February 11, made it clear that he has listened carefully in prayer to the Father before freely making his decision.  That fact alone can give us assurance and peace, trusting that God knows what He’s up to!  Fr. Barron has an excellent 7-minute reflection on the legacy of Pope Benedict at www.wordonfire.org/ and Dan Burke has written reflections and suggestions for prayer during this time of transition at www.rcspiritualdirection.com/ .

Chapter 5 of John’s Gospel centers on just one incident in the ministry of Jesus, along with commentary on its many consequences.  Here are a few things to think about:

– Verses 1-15:  Consider carefully the situation in which this man had lived for 38 years and ponder, why would Jesus ask the question He did in verse 6? Also, why would the man answer Jesus in the particular way that he did?  Third, what were the immediate results of this man’s healing?  Do these results explain why he was so quick to send the angry religious leaders to Jesus when he discovered His whereabouts?

– Verses 16-18:  Compare these verses to similar ones in Luke 6:6-11, another incident among many in which a healing by Jesus infuriated the Jewish leaders.  What were the two reasons stated for their anger?  Which reason was the primary one?

– Verses 25-47:  Look at Matthew 17:5 and Mark 9:7 while being aware of the surrounding verses concerning the Transfiguration of the Lord.  In these verses, a powerful Voice from heaven clearly directed the disciples Peter, James and John to “listen!” to the Son (in the sight and hearing of Moses and Elijah, great ancestors of the Jews, revealed to be alive, not dead!)  Of the three, John was the only one to write a Gospel, the one we have in our hands now.  Does the command of the Voice from heaven make it clear why John would decide to record all that we read in verses 25-47?

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