God knows what is best for us. The mercy of God goes beyond the limitations we set on others and ourselves. The sick man we hear about in today’s Gospel had been incapacitated for thirty- eight years. The merciful and loving Jesus is immediately drawn to him and wants to do something for him. When Jesus asks him if he wants to be healed, notice that he does not give an answer but gives him all the reasons why he has not been able to be healed. He comes across as someone who is a bit whiny! Without further questions or a list of conditions Jesus effortlessly tells the man to “arise, take up your mattress and walk.” God’s mercy is limitless and this is the lesson we are being taught today.
The vision of new life that Ezekiel offers in the text we hear today speaks not only of God’s mercy but also God’s generosity – the two are closely linked.
Both of these texts invite us to ponder just what God can and will do for us despite our inability to help ourselves (or others), and our ungrateful attitude. It is clear that it is not up to us; it is all up to God. Even when we let God down, God does not stop working in our lives. God, in great mercy, will not only offer us healing but also something new. God’s generosity can never be outdone.
We must do two things. First, examine our lives and identify times when God has been extraordinarily merciful and generous to us. Perhaps, in reflection, we will notice how God has taken the initiative and how much we have received. Second, what God has done for us we are invited to do for those around us. The way God deals with us is the same way that we are asked to deal with others. When we are able to see others through the generous mercy of God we become more like Jesus and the most important question we begin to mercifully ask others is, “Do you want to be healed?”