By: Father David Marcham on March 21st, 2023
Do You Want to Be Well? - Family Reflection Video
Do you want to be well?
Every time we go to the dentist, eye doctor, orthopedist, cardiologist, etc., by our presence in their waiting room, we answer that question with a resounding “yes.”
In a sense, the man who had been ill for thirty-eight years was in a waiting area when Jesus approached him and asked that fundamental question.
As I reflected on this Gospel passage, I thought of visiting Boston hospitals, where countless people go to great lengths to be seen by top doctors. I marvel at the distance traveled, the complicated medical histories, and the number of doctors they’ve seen before reaching that point.
Having worked in and had my family receive care in these hospitals, I can attest to the incredible stories of healing and lives restored through the dedication of these doctors, nurses, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists.
And yet, there is more to us than just our bodies that need healing; in fact, in my time as a physical therapist, I clearly saw the relationship among our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives.
Often as I got to know a patient, as we were working on their knee range of motion, they’d share with me something about their families or themselves that needed healing, too. And more often than you’d imagine, they’d tell me that they were praying for God to help them or a loved one. But there were also people who asked why God wasn’t helping them.
I think most of us can relate to this journey of seeking help from medical professionals and not always finding an easy or quick solution. But imagine waiting for thirty-eight years, and then Jesus appears and asks, “Do you want to be well?” Did you notice the man doesn’t immediately say, “yes!” but instead explains why he hasn’t been able to get to the healing waters?
Both Jesus’ question and the man’s reply give us a clue that there is more to this story. First, Jesus chooses this man, who, like the man who was born blind, had suffered for years. Why did He choose them? Was it because they would provide the greatest evidence of doing the Father’s will … was it to offer us hope when a loved one, or we, go through long trials?
Perhaps it is both of those explanations, plus what’s revealed in the man’s words, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool …” When we feel that there is no one to help us get the healing we need, Jesus is always present. He is there to help us, to strengthen our faith when we feel discouraged and alone.
And the final part of this healing story tells us that it wasn’t only a physical ailment that needed to be addressed. After the man followed Jesus’ instruction to rise, pick up his mat, and walk, Jesus finds him later in the Temple area and says, “Look, you are well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
My brothers and sisters, Jesus asks us the same question that He asked that man. He doesn’t force Himself on us but invites us to trust Him to provide what we need to follow Him to Heaven: courage and hope, purity of mind and heart, and the peace of knowing His healing presence.
Every time we call out in prayer, every time we enter into the Mass, go to Confession, or seek the Sacrament of the Sick, we are telling Jesus, “Yes, I want to be well.”
- Father David's inspirational homily was recorded live this morning during Mass at the Father Peyton Center. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
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About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!