1st Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Heb 4:1-5, 11
Let us be on our guard while the promise of entering into his rest remains, that none of you seem to have failed. For in fact we have received the Good News just as our ancestors did. But the word that they heard did not profit them, for they were not united in faith with those who listened. For we who believed enter into that rest, just as he has said: As I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter into my rest,” and yet his works were accomplished at the foundation of the world. For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner, And God rested on the seventh day from all his works; and again, in the previously mentioned place, They shall not enter into my rest. Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.
Gospel: Mk 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, “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.”
Child, your sins are forgiven: Jesus returns to the city (Capernaum) and is in an undisclosed house (probably the same house as Peter and Andrew). His presence cannot be hidden from those who seek him. They gather and fill the house such that there is no space at the door. The desperate situation of the paralytic is captured in what those carrying did, in order to get him to Jesus. On the grounds of their faith, Jesus began the work of healing. Jesus responds to our exercise of the gift of faith. The procedure of the healing invites us to deep reflection. He restores his relationship with God and then heals his physical ailment. He moves from the interior to the exterior. This is the nature of the redemption that Christ brings; he heals the whole person; restoring man to communion with God and heals his infirmities as well.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you for healing. Strengthen our faith in you, in your compassion for the sinful and suffering children of God. Amen
THE SON OF MAN HAS AUTHORITY: God has authority over Israel, yet He gives in to their request for a king. Despite showing them all the evils that this earthly king will do, they still insist on getting one. In the Gospel, Jesus shows how a true king should use his authority, to liberate and rise up the weak. He makes the man whole – able to rise, and fend for himself, free at last from the shackles of paralysis. As in charge of our families, at our work places or wherever we are in charge of others, do we behave like the worldly kings or like Jesus? Like the four men carrying the paralytic, we are called to reach out to others and help them. Let us take ourselves and those in need, to Jesus.
Prayer: O God, through your Son Jesus Christ, free us from every evil
AMAZING FRIENDS: The four men in the gospel are an example of taking love of others to another level. They could have been passive. They could have decided, “If our paralyzed friend wants to meet Jesus, let him figure out how to do that for himself.” But they remained good friends of the paralytic and treated him with sympathy and love. But they took love to the next level. They did whatever it took to get him to Jesus. They recognized Jesus was the only one who could help him. They weren’t shy about enlisting the help of others in getting him to Jesus. They exercised persistent faith, not giving up till they got their friend to Jesus. And they overcame every obstacle that stood in the way—pushing through discouragement, pressing through the crowd, even to the extent of letting him down through the roof. They were bold and creative and unashamed and overcame every obstacle to get their friend to Jesus.
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL: Not a word spoken, No prayer on his lips. The sufferer does not make even a step towards the master. And no visible expression of intent. Yet in all these, Jesus is presented with a man in need of His touch. In response to this need, Jesus says, Child, your sins are forgiven.” At this, people who matter in the society of the day conclude, “He is blaspheming”. It would have appeared better for Jesus to shut up and not enter into problems, however, for Him, the good of a person in need is the priority. That is the true meaning of God’s glory that should not be limited to times and laws. The faith of these few believers is enough to move Him to action. If only our society had more such whose quality of faith would make good the poor faith of others! In today’s time, you and I witness a landscape of spiritual desert standing sterile with nothing to bear, we realize how much faith is lacking! May we be ushers of positive change.