After this, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now, by the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, there is a pool (called Bethzatha in Hebrew) surrounded by five galleries. In these galleries lay a multitude of sick people: blind, lame and paralyzed.
(All were waiting for the water to move, for at times an angel of the Lord would descend into the pool and stir up the water; and the first person to enter the pool, after this movement of the water, would be healed of what- ever disease that he had.)
There was a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus saw him, and because he knew how long this man had been lying there, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” And the sick man answered, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed; so while I am still on my way, another steps down before me.”
Jesus then said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk!” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his mat and walked.
Now that day happened to be the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had just been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and the law doesn’t allow you to carry your mat.” He answered them, “The one who healed me said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk!’” They asked him, “Who is the one who said to you: Take up your mat and walk?” But the sick man had no idea who it was who had cured him, for Jesus had slipped away among the crowd that filled the place.
Afterward Jesus met him in the temple court and told him, “Now you are well; don’t sin again, lest some- thing worse happen to you.” And the man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. So the Jews persecuted Jesus because he performed healings like that on the Sabbath.
Today’s saint was not born a saint, by no means. In fact, the first 40 years of his life were far from edifying. Born in Portugal on this date in 1495, he died on this date in 1550. His name was John Ciudad. At age 27 he enlisted in the army and fought in wars between the Spaniards and the French, and later in Hungary against the Turks. While a soldier, he gave up on religion and lived a completely immoral life.
At age 40 he left the army and began to regret his past sinful life. In 1538 he was deeply influenced by a sermon of St. John Avila (which proves that some sermons are useful!) but so exaggerated his religious conduct that for some months he was committed to an insane asylum. But he recovered and started to devote himself to the care of the sick poor. He soon attracted other co-workers, and after a time his bishop gave him the name John of God, as also a rule of life to him and his companions. Thus was founded the Order of the Brothers Hospitallers, which is still very much active in many countries of the world.
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