Homily of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo
17th Tract on John
Let us see what is mystically signified by that one infirm man whom alone the Lord, keeping to a mysterious unity, chose out of so many sufferers, to be the subject of His healing power. He found in him a certain number of years of sickness. He had had an infirmity thirty and eight years. How this number is proper rather to weakness than to health, will now be the subject of a few careful remarks. I bespeak your attention; the Lord will be present, that I may speak fitly, and you may understand. The number forty is put before us as hallowed, and, in a way, perfect. I think that your love knoweth this God's Scriptures often and; often witness it. Ye well know that a Fast of this number of days is hallowed. Moses fasted forty days. Elias did the same. And our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself fasted this number of days complete. Moses representeth the Law, Elias the Prophets, and the Lord the Gospel. And therefore these three appeared on the Mount of the Transfiguration. There the Lord showed Himself to His disciples with His Face shining as the sun, and His raiment glistering; and He stood between Moses and Elias; as it were, the Gospel receiving testimony, on the one hand from the Law, and, on the other, from the Prophets.
|Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.||Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to John.|
|Cap. v.||Ch. v.|
|In illo tempore: Erat dies festus Judæorum, et ascendit Jesus Jerosolymam. Est autem Jerosolymis Probatica piscina, quæ cognominatur hebrarice Bethsaïda, quinque porticus habens. In his jacebat multitudo magna languentium, cæcorum, claudorum, aridorum, exspectantium aquæ motum. Angelus autem Domini descendebat secundum tempus in piscinam: et movebatur aqua. Et qui prior descendisset in piscinam post motionem aquæ, sanus fiebat a quacumque detinebatur infirmitate. Erat autem quidam homo ibi, triginta et octo annos habens in infirmitate sua. Hunc cum vidisset Jesus jacentem, et cognovisset quia jam multum tempus haberet, dicit ei: Vis sanus fieri? Responsit ei languidus: Domine, hominem non habeo, ut com turbata fuerit aqua, mittat me in piscinam: dum venio enim ego, alius ante me descendit. Dicit ei Jesus: Surge, tolle grabatum tuum et ambula. Et statim sanus factus est homo ille: et sustulit grabatum suum, et ambulabat. Erat autem sabbatum in die illo. Dicebant ergo Judæi illi qui sanatus fuerat: Sabbatum est, non licet tibi tollere grabatum tuum: Respondit eis: Qui me sanum fecit, ille mihi dixit: Tolle grabatum tuum et ambula. Interrogaverunt ergo eum: Quis est ille homo qui dixit tibi: Tolle grabatum tuum, et ambula? Is autem qui sanus fuerat effectus, nesciebat quis esset. Jesus enim declinavat a turba constituta in loco. Postea invenit eum Jesus in templo, et dixit illi: Ecce sanus factus es: jam noli peccare, ne deterius tibi aliquid contingat. Abiit ille homo, et nuntiavit Judæis quia Jesus esset, qui fecit eum sanum.||At that time: There was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, and of withered, waiting for the moving of the water. And the Angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under. And there was a certain man there, that had been eight-and-thirty years under his infirmity. Him, when Jesus had seen lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, he saith to him: Wilt thou be made whole? The infirm man answered him: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond; for, while I am coming, another goeth down before me. Jesus saith to him: Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole; and he took up his bed and walked. And it was the Sabbath that day. The Jews therefore said to him that was cured: It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed. He answered them: He that made me whole, he said to me: Take up thy bed, and walk. They asked him, therefore: Who is that man that said to thee, “Take up thy bed, and walk?” But he that was healed, knew not who it was; for Jesus went aside from the multitude standing in the place. Afterwards Jesus findeth him in the temple, and saith to him: Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee. The man went his way, and told the Jews that it was Jesus that had made him whole.|