In Gospel passage (John 5:1-16), Jesus faces an important decision when he notices a man who’s been sick for 38 years. Should he protect himself from being rejected, ridiculed, and persecuted for breaking the religious law about not working on the Sabbath? Or should he respond to the man’s suffering and work a healing?
The lame man did not ask Jesus for a healing. It was entirely Jesus’ decision. Apparently, the poor guy hadn’t heard of Jesus yet, as evidenced by his reply about needing someone to put him into the pool.
Why did Jesus focus on this man amidst a crowd of many who were ill, blind, lame, and crippled? Maybe he’d been sick the longest. Maybe he had more love for God than the others did. Maybe the Father had a special plan for his life. We don’t know, but whatever the reason, Jesus recognized his need and readiness to be healed, and so he decided to take the initiative and reach out to the man.
We don’t know why Jesus picks any of us out of the crowd. When he takes the initiative to give us any gift, healing, vocation or other blessing, all we can do is trust in his wisdom and accept what he does and praise him for being so good to us.
Jesus knew the ramifications of inviting the lame man to receive his healing gift: Both he and the man would be condemned as sinners. Have you ever been in that kind of a situation? Jesus helps you but it creates a reaction from others that ruins your joy? Or being the hands of Jesus, by responding to the needs of others, backfires with stinging criticism?Read More »
Walpurga was born in the county of Devonshire, England, into a local aristocratic family. She was the daughter of St. Richard the Pilgrim, one of the underkings of the West Saxons, and of Winna, sister of St. Boniface, Apostle of Germany, and had two brothers, St. Willibald and St. Winibald.
St. Richard, when starting with his two sons on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, entrusted Walpurga, then 11 years old, to the abbess of Wimborne. Walpurga was educated by the nuns of Wimborne Abbey, Dorset, where she spent 26 years as a member of the community. She then travelled with her brothers, Willibald and Winibald, to Francia (now Württemberg and Franconia) to assist Saint Boniface, her mother’s brother, in evangelizing among the still-pagan Germans.
Because of her rigorous training, she was later able to write St. Winibald’s Life and an account in Latin of St. Willibald’s travels in Palestine. She is thus looked upon by many as the first female author of England and Germany. Scarcely a year after her arrival, Walpurga received tidings of her father’s death at Lucca.
During her schooling at St. Cuthberga, her uncle and Boniface (later martyred in Germany) and her two brothers were sent as missionaries to Germany to convert the heathen races of Europe. As Boniface began to establish churches, he appealed to the Abbess Tetta of the convent of St. Cuthberga to send him some nuns to assist in his work. The Abbess selected a party of ten to embark on a voyage to join him, two of whom were Walburga and Boniface’s cousin Lioba.Read More »