A Gospel according to Matthew 9:1-8
After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
“This man is blaspheming.”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
“Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he then said to the paralytic,
“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.
REFLECTION: "And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher."
I really like this passage.
How many times have we heard somebody tell us their problems: sickness, unstable job situation, family issues, etc. And you have told them: "I will pray for you."
Do we follow up with this promise to our friends?
In this story, we don't know if the paralyzed man wanted to talk to or even see Jesus. But his friends brought him anyway.
Their prayer-in-action, that communion of saints we are all part of, was powerful enough for Jesus to look at him, the state of the paralytic's soul, and forgive his sins. And eventually also heal his body.
Likewise, we don't know exactly how our intercessory prayer is going to help others. But we trust in God's goodness to hear our pleas for others.
Unbeknownst to us, we might be helping someone to go to Heaven by repentance of their sins. We intercede for them to endure the pain of sickness, or maybe even heal from their ailments. We plead to God to bring peace to our world for the good of all humanity.
As PAPA members, our main duty is to pray for priests. And for each other.
Meditate on our PAPA prayer today. See how it starts with us asking God the Father to look upon the face of Jesus. How we acknowledge the weaknesses of all the priests. And out of love for the Son, we ask for mercy on all priests.
Read slowly each sentence. And offer it up for any priest you might know, or not (those in purgatory, those in danger right now...).
God might have mercy on them, and by that prayer we might be helping a priest heal for any kind of paralysis: paralysis of fear of doing something, of being perceived the wrong way, paralysis of sin that binds them in the wrong way, and paralysis for the lack of economical or medical resources to help their parishioners in need.
Please pray with me the PAPA prayer for Priests. So the enemy won't prevail against them. So their vocation is rekindled each and every day. And they can be the saints God asked and needs them to be.