One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.
But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
As much as I rejoice that God or Jesus or a saint makes the blind see or the lame walk, my question long has been “Why not heal them all?” If the response is that these particular people’s faith is the factor, I can’t help but imagine that there have been many good and faithful people who begged for the lives of their children or an ease of terrible suffering only to have those requests denied. So I was initially heartened by the first part of the reading from Acts 3 which indicates that Peter and John tell the “crippled man” not to expect anything from them other than faith in Jesus.
But then the reading tells us that the man “leaped up, stood, and walked around.” Maybe I am paying attention to the wrong part of the story. Maybe the important thing is that Peter and John did not just walk by this man who had long sat by the gate, passed by thousands on their way to Temple. Maybe the important thing is that they acknowledged him as a human being; they touched him, raised him up, and invited him in.
—Bren Ortega Murphy, PhD is a faculty member in Communications Studies at Loyola University Chicago. She holds a joint appointment in Loyola’s Women’s Studies program.
Risen Jesus, Lord of my life, give me eyes to see, a heart to mend,
hands to strengthen and heal whomever you send across my path today.
Expand my spirit these holy days of Easter. Amen.
—the Jesuit prayer team
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