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Lenten Reflection: Rise, Take and Walk

Published: March 20, 2023

Written by Sr. Lisa Retort

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be well?" [...] Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk."Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked. (from John 5:1-16)

“Do you want to be made well?” Jesus’ question to the man at the pool of Bethesda seems simple. Who wouldn’t want to be made well? The question, however, is not so simple; it really goes deeper. It is an invitation to choose—a choice to be made from the depth of a heart seeking God. It moves one from looking (which does not require interior work) to seeking (which requires going deeper to the heart’s desire).

For years the man focused on the outward action of physically getting himself to the pool in the hopes of being made well; however, to be made well invites an interior action—seeking the heart’s desire. Jesus’ response is a command: Rise, Take, Walk.

RISE: Do we look upward to seeking Jesus?
TAKE: Do we acknowledge Jesus’ precious offering?
WALK: Do we move toward the One who loves us, desires what is the good for us?
The man doesn’t recognize the One who gives life for he addresses Jesus as “sir.” Trust is needed and so he responds and is healed.

What do we choose each day of the journey? Grace for interior conversion of heart? Do we stay immobile, bound by exterior bonds? Are we willing to "rise" in trust and "take" Jesus’ invitation to "walk" with Him toward the fullness of life?

The invitation remains.
The choice is ours.
“Do you want to be made well?”


Sr. Lisa Retort teaches theology at Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden, CT.

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