FRIDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME JANUARY 18, 2019
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 2:1-12
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, "Child, your sins are forgiven." Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?" Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, " are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven, or to say, 'Rise , pick up your mat and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth""--he said to the paralytic, "I say to you, rise, pick up your mat and go home." He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying," We have never seen anything like this." The Gospel of the Lord.
REFLECTION: When Jesus saw their faith,...
When we are united in faith, so many beautiful things happen.
It was the faith of the four men that brought the paralytic through the thatched roof and into the presence of God. The paralytic's illness did not bring him to despair, but brought him closer to Jesus Christ, through his suffering. We see the healing power of forgiveness, compassion and love in this reading.
Jesus has the power to heal spiritually. "Child, your sins are forgiven." (Mark 2: 5) A grown man is considered by God as "his child". Think about the tender mercies we have for our children.
And Jesus has the power to heal physically , "I say to you, rise, pick up your mat and go home". (Mark 2:9) Do we take our crippled bodies, minds and spirit to Jesus to walk in his transforming love and forgiveness?
There was no room at the house so his friends went to Plan B. Too many would have said , "it is too difficult", "we tried but we can't get in so let's stop trying to help". But his friends had the faith to persevere.
Do we readily accept that sickness or a lost soul is what God wants for us? How many people asked Jesus for healing? Do you remember Jesus saying "NO" to anyone who approached him? But what if God's will is to have us pray more for our neighbor, to have us join God in prayer more often? What if God's answer is "yes" but not now? But even if the answer will eventually be "no", we always keep trying, persevering in our conversations with God because we are not only pleading with God but we are becoming one with Him in love and His will. We don't know the future, but we do know that what is best for us is God's will. God loves us so much that all that He gives us is good. Always good. God is the source of all good. We entrust ourselves to Him.
There are times we are sick and have to rely on family and friends for help--like a drive to the doctors, home cooked meals, frequent phone calls, visits, etc . Sometimes the help is more demanding. As in the paralytic, he needed help with his personal hygiene, his bodily functions, feeding, and turning over in bed. How humiliating for him. He was humbled to solely rely on his friends.
Then there are times when our souls are in need of a cure, when we have become enamored of our world, and sin does not allow us to live . We are not able to break away from wrong and our family and friends are praying for our conversions. Sometimes confession is all we need to get us on the right path but sometimes we have to be shown Jesus by our friends , we need to come face to face with Jesus for our salvation.
The paralytic's friends did not give up, and so they went that "extra mile" and finally were able to have the paralytic come face to face with Jesus. They were there for a physical cure but Jesus also extended the spiritual cure, the healing of his sins and a closer relationship with him. I can imagine the smiles, the "high fives" and the nods of the four men who did that which many would have said "no"--they did good not for themselves but for the one who needed it the most.
Are we like the paralytic? Are we like the four good men? Do our sins and our circumstances prevent us from reaching God? Do we put our faith into action with our deeds? Do we try to reach Jesus no matter the cost? Do we bring our family, friends, strangers to Jesus ? Do we do what we have to do? Do we act to get the approval of Jesus or of man? Do we let others know how much we love Jesus? Do we boldly do for God the difficult things, knowing that we are doing His will? Do we wait hours to confess or do we leave because there was a line? Do we opt for vacation over going to Mass on Sunday? Do we go the easy route, the road most traveled? Do we care enough for others, that we would risk our reputation, our lives for them?
When two or more are gathered, that is where you will find God. " When we sing together with our heart to the Holy Spirit, we are opening up ourselves to grace and also building up one another and inevitably the Kingdom of Heaven." (PAPA top secret #5, Father Michael)