Ministers of Love and Healing Grace

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Memorial of +Oscar Romero
John 5:1-16

Do we get sick and suffer because of sin?  In today’s gospel reading (Jn. 5:14), Jesus seems to say, “Yes.”  But in this past Sunday’s gospel reading, his answer seemed to be “No.”  Which is it, Jesus?

His answer, confirmed by our own experiences, seems to be “Well, it’s both…yes and no.”  Sometimes we do suffer the consequences of our own sinful behaviors and habits.  When I was in college and found myself hungover and “worshipping the porcelain god,” it wasn’t because I had been drinking milk and saying the rosary!

Sometimes, however, our suffering is more of a mystery.  It may even seem unfair or cruel.  Think of how many people now suffering and even dying from COVID-19 did little or nothing knowingly or willfully to “deserve” their fates.

+Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA, who died from cancer some 30 years ago at age 53, said: “I don’t try to make sense of suffering.  I try to make sense of life.”  Even and perhaps especially in the midst of her own suffering, she was a source of light and life for others.  Regardless of their sins, Jesus healed both the man at the pools of Bethesda and the man at the pool of Siloam.  Wherever there is suffering, we can be ministers of his love and healing grace. —jc