“Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Jn 5:8

My chest hurts. I can’t breathe. Panic. “Are you ok?” The voice sounds so far away. Pain. “I’m ok,” I mumble. Breathe. Concentrate on breathing. Inhale. Ouch.

During mass last Sunday, I felt a sharp pain in my lungs when I inhaled. It made me dizzy. I didn’t know what was wrong. What I thought was heartburn and brushed off had intensified. The small dull pain turned sharp.

I’ve been sick for weeks now. My doctor has been trying, but the truth of it is I have a rare genetic condition in which there is no cure. Some days I lose hope that the cocktail of meds will work.

The crippled man in today’s gospel reminds me of the power of hope and faith. The man had been sick for 38 years, but he continued to try to get to the pool despite several failed attempts in hope of being cured. When Jesus saw the man, Jesus told him to pick up his mat and walk, and he immediately became well. It was his faith that cured him.

How often do we lose sight of faith and hope that God is the resurrection and the life? During this Lenten season, let us hear Jesus’ question to the man, “Do you want to be well?” Let us answer him with faith and hope so that we can pick up our mats and walk.

Kath Tran