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 the paralytic, “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, “Why 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.” (Mark 2:1-12)
The four friends in today’s Gospel see an obstacle They work together to figure out a way to overcome it. They clear out a passage in the roof that they then can use to lower their paralyzed friend down into the house where Jesus will see him and reach out to him and heal him. And they do this hard work and they get from Jesus more than they expected. For Jesus does something unexpected when he addresses this paralyzed man. He doesn’t just heal his body. Rather, he starts by healing him on the inside: “Your sins are forgiven!” Forgiveness is where it starts.
There is another group in this story. A group of scribes and Pharisees who sit and watch and object. “Just who does this guy think he is, forgiving sins?!” This group is struggling with a more serious obstacle. The obstacle which is separating this group from others and from God is their own arrogance, their own certainty of their rightness, their rigidity of thought, their holiness, their purity. It is an obstacle which is keeping them away from God. It is in fact an obstacle which separates them from others and puts a large moat between them and God. There are days when I shake my head and winder if the moat will always be there for some.
Against that backdrop, we need to ask what kinds of hard work do we need to do in order to get to Jesus? In what ways are we paralyzed in our lives, in what ways are we confronted by seemingly insurmountable obstacles that divide us from our loved ones, from others and from God? In what ways do we allow the secular world to divide us? There are some families where politics cannot be discussed because members of the same family have drawn intransient lines!! Is that a situation where love prevails? Is that a situation where forgiveness exists? Is that a situation where respect of another prevails? Those are the types of questions posed by this text. Before we can fully respond to God’s call and freely follow Jesus, before we can be free in our relationships with others we need forgiveness and healing. Gifts that God, through Jesus is prepared and waiting to provide for us. But first, perhaps, we have some to dig through some of the dirt that surrounds us!
Prayer of The Day
Lord, help me to realize more deeply that you want me involved in more than a life of prayer. I need to remember that you entrust souls to me, and you want to bless their lives through my prayers, my sacrifices, and my work. Increase my love for these souls. I don’t want to let them down. Help me to be faithful to you and your command of love and forgiveness.
We are called by Christ to help carry the burdens of others. We are to lead by example. The goal is to live in such a way that others can read the scriptures written on our hearts. We are to be the living word, a living temple of God. Be an example to others, let them see in you Jesus Christ – may they experience from you the power of living the Gospel. The only word from God they may ever experience is the one they see in you.