Friends of Faith

Mark 2: 1-12

1Sm 8:4-7,10-22a / Psa 89:16-19

When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
(Mark 2:5)

What many may not realize

Forgiveness is what we all need;

While sin can trap and paralyze,

In Penance we are healed and freed.

A few days later, when Jesus returned to Capernaum, the people heard that He had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus knew in His spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and He said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . .” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, picked up his mat at once, and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2: 1-12)

Reflection

The healing of the paralytic must be one of the best known miracles in the life of our Lord, Jesus. Similar versions are also found in the other synoptic Gospels of Matthew (9:1-8), and Luke (5:17-26) that confirm the veracity of this event.

Despite the innumerable cures and exorcisms that Jesus performed before He left Capernaum, displaying His authority over evil spirits, over sickness, over nature, etc. the scribes still questioned His authority to forgive sins. This was because of their lack of faith. They refused to believe, even if the truth was already so obvious. It was the opposite in the case of the four men who refused to be intimidated by obstacles on the way to bring their friend to the healing power of Jesus. They believed that if there’s a will, there’s a way, even if they had to pay for the damages later.

Faith demands action. St. James said, “What good is it if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?… I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.” (Jam.2:14,18) The four friends of the paralytic were motivated into action by love for their sick friend. They wanted him to be restored back to his normal life. Jesus was moved by their faith and His compassion for the paralytic. He forgave the man’s sins first because He knew the paralytic needed forgiveness more than healing. God knows what we need more than we do.

Many of us fail to abide by God’s will when we doubt our capability to complete an assigned task. But it is only when we take action that God’s grace will be manifested in our life. 1 Corinthians 13 states that “Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.” This means we must always be willing to take the initiative in whatever the Lord wishes us to accomplish in our life, persevering in faith. This was demonstrated yesterday by our dear friends in faith, who, at very short notice, gave a surprise party for my wife Ollie on her birthday last night. Their act of love brought her to tears.

We place ourselves in Your hands, O Lord, that we may receive Your grace. Thank You for making us realize that it is our sins that paralyze us, and render us helpless when we are in dire straits and in need of help. Thank You for the grace of Penance, which reconciles us back to You and the Father. And thank You for our “friends of faith” who help us when we are far from You. Bless them for their kindness, and help them in their determination to beat the odds. Amen.

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