“Jesus saw him”

John 5:6

Monday, 06 July 2020

John 5:1-7

The account of the sick man at the pool of Bethzatha is an intriguing story. All we know is that this man is one of many sick people waiting to be healed. He had been sick for thirty-eight years!

When Jesus enters the scene, he sees him. This man was one amongst many. He was a number. He is not identified. He has no name. Jesus gives him dignity and recognises him as a person – with loved ones, friends and a life story. We all want to be seen and recognised; to have our dignity acknowledged and accorded basic human respect.

As COVID-19 spreads, we are given a daily number indicating the new infections. People easily become numbers. Jesus’ ability to ‘see’ the man reminds us that behind each number is a person with a story. We are invited to ‘see’ others and remember that every person is created in the image and likeness of God.

Life is made of up of relationships, varying in degree and depth. We all desire to be connected, accepted, cherished and loved. Sadly, like the sick man at Bethzatha, many people are abandoned in their time of need. Others are forgotten, their stories and lives unnoticed and unimportant. They are nameless or referred to as a collective, like ‘beggars’.

Our ability to ‘see’ others – and not just numbers – begins a twofold process of healing: it heals us of the tragedy of seeing people as objects or problematic numbers; this makes us more human. It also begins the process of healing for all those who feel unseen, unimportant, excluded.

In the week ahead, as we hear the number of new infections being announced daily, or we see a beggar at an intersection, recall Jesus’ invitation to ‘see’ the person, their loved ones and friends – their story. Slowly we will begin to offer them dignity as children of God. We being to ‘see’ as God sees and not as our world ‘sees’ and harshly judges and dismisses.

Lord God,
Jesus, your beloved Son, never failed to ‘see’ people. Help me, in the week ahead, to ‘see’ others – especially those I so often would rather not want to see. Grace me with the eyes of Jesus which see dignity, respect and your image in every person.

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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