“Do you want to be well?”
In today’s Gospel we read the story of Jesus performing a great act healing. Jesus asks a man who has been ill for 38 years: “Do you want to be well?” Upon the man’s positive response, he is told to take up his mat, and walk, upon Jesus’ healing power. He is made well. What does it mean to be well?
Health is multi-dimensional. To be healthy, we must be attentive to varying aspects of our personhood – our mental, emotional, social, physical, environmental and spiritual arenas of health. Wellness is often defined as the combination of health and happiness. In John’s gospel, the man who is ill is made well, leading us to believe he is not only healed physically, but that through his interaction with Jesus he is fulfilled, he is healthy, he is happy.
We cannot become well overnight. It is not an easy or short-term process, and it is not a standard we achieve once and then never need to nurture again. Rather, it is a process through which we are forever growing – a journey we embark upon and never cease. There are constantly new challenges to our place of wellness – whether the challenges come by way of physical struggles, struggles within our community, struggles in our relationship with God. By our human nature, we are constantly changing; our world is constantly changing. We must learn to adapt in our surroundings, respond to the signs of the times, attend to both immediate needs of our human family and search for long term solutions and responses to these needs. We must strive to adapt and change from a place of wellness.
Think about where you are in your journey towards wellness. Do you feel healthy, complete, balanced? Do you find the time to be physically active? Are you spending time with friends and loved ones? Today is officially the first day of spring – are you enjoying the environment in which you find yourself, caring for the earth and bringing a sense of ecological responsibility to your surroundings? Are you finding ways to cope with stress? Are you making time for prayer? Are you happy? Do you want to be well?
Lent is a time of active waiting for a new beginning, a new chapter. Active is a key term here – we are not passive beings, allowing outside forces to impart themselves upon us. Rather, we are taking various measures – alms, fasting, prayer – through which to dedicate ourselves to more intentional way of being, to journeying with God and others on a path toward something greater. As we prepare for the Paschal Mystery – the passion, death and resurrection of Christ – so too do we prepare to enter ourselves into a place of new life, of greater wholeness – a place of profound wellness.