Sunday of the Paralytic
Pascha and baptism go together like bread and butter! This is the season when the Mystery of Baptism - and the renewal of our sense of what it means to be baptized, to have been baptized - is so clearly and luminously linked to the proclamation of the Resurrection. If we die like Him in baptism, says the Apostle, we will rise with Him in His resurrection. So it is no wonder that during the Paschal season, the Church marvels and reflects on the wonder of new life in Christ, expressed above all in themes of water and baptism.
This week we hear about the paralytic healed at the pool of Bethesda. In a few weeks we will hear about the blind man healed by the pool of Siloam. Next week we hear about the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, and the living water announced to her by the Lord. At Mid-Pentecost on this coming Wednesday we sing: In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, fill my thirsting soul with the waters of godliness, as Thou didst cry out to all: If anyone thirst let him come to me and drink! O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to Thee! (Troparion) and Christ God, the Creator and Master of all cried to all in the midst of the Feast of the law: Come and draw the water of immortality! We fall before Thee and faithfully cry: Grant us Thy bounties, for Thou art the Fountain of our life! (Kontakion)
Now these various pools are understood as images of the Law, of the Old Covenant, and the paralytic and the blind man and the Samaritan woman each stand in their own way as images of those for whom - like us - salvation could not be found in the Old Ways. The old ways cannot save, but the new way - to be in Christ - does. Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you now perceive it? (Isaiah 43:18-19)