The Healing of a Paralytic
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Some people were scandalized because Jesus told the paralytic whom he cured: “My friend, your sins are forgiven you.” These men objected, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Little did they realize that Jesus was, indeed, God who had come to forgive man’s sins and call them to repentance? They only saw the humanity of Christ.
A friend of find was applying for U.S. Visa, sometimes in August, 2007, because he wanted to visit some relatives in the United States. A scheduled interview day came and he prepared himself for the interview and even asked some prayers from his friends for this interview alone. He was at the U.S. Embassy in Manila before eight o’clock in the morning and he was interviewed at almost eleven o’clock already. The interview was so short that the interviewer was not even had the effort to see those documents that he prepared. He was denied, just that?
In today’s gospel after all the hardships undergone by the men who brought the paralytic in the presence of Jesus, he had done nothing more than say, “Your sins are forgiven,” just that?
Today’s gospel is read to us several times during the year. As we hear it read in Advent can it tell us anything about preparing for Christmas? Yes it can. It tells about gift-giving without having to worry about the cost. When these caring friends took so much trouble to bring the paralyzed man to Jesus did they not give him a wonderful gift? They gave him the chance to be healed from his physical and spiritual sickness. Because of their concern the man was given a new life.
Before considering material gifts this Christmas why not offer the chance for healing? We may not always be able to do much about physical healing but we can offer the chance of spiritual healing through the sacrament of reconciliation. Allow God to give you the gift of His mercy this Christmas by making a good confession. This will be your gift to yourself, and the joy it will bring us will surely be a blessing to others too.
Give the same Christmas gift also to some others: family member, friend, colleague. Share your own experience of God’s love by encountering them to make a good confession. Show them how to go about it if they don’t know how. Reassure them if they are nervous. Even accompany them if necessary. You will be just like those good people who brought their sick friend to Jesus.
You may not have the means to buy expensive gifts for your friends but if you can help someone to experience the healing power of God’s mercy this Christmas, you will have given him/her something more precious than money can buy. (Fr. John O’Mahony, SVD Bible Diary 2005)
Abraham Maslow provides a trenchant observation on problem solving. “When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail.” His point is that one should address a problem as one finds it, not as one would like to find it. Unfortunately our experience is that, more often than not, some people offer solutions even before they have fully understood the problem.
This is very important particularly with human problems which are rarely simple, especially at the emotional or spiritual level. Monochromatic, unimaginative, formulaic solutions constitute the myopic approach. One should be willing to be as creative as the mysteriousness of the human individual demands.
Increasingly one finds that it is the kibitzers (Often the Pharisees and Sadducees) who have diagnoses for the problems of others (“these sick people must have been guilty of sin or at least their parents and relatives”) and who are competent to prescribe solutions for everyone else (but of course!). The irony is that these highly educated elite could not appreciate the novelty of the solution of the sick man’s assistants; unable to enter through the door, they found their opening in the roof.
The gift of Jesus was his capacity to see the problem of those who came to him in their terms. That is why he was never wrong in offering the solution, be this healing, exorcism or for forgiveness. While his tool was always the same – love, he wielded it in as many ways as people needed loving. (Fr. Diony Miranda, SVD Bible Diary 2006)
After all the hardships undergone by the men who brought the paralytic in the presence of Jesus, he had done nothing more than say, “Your sins are forgiven.” Just that?
At first glance it seems that Jesus has done nothing much. After all, everyone is expecting him to heal to paralytic physically and say, “Rise and walk!” What is Christ trying to reveal to us? Jesus’ response to the situation seems strange yet full of powerful revelations. One needs more power to forgive sins than to heal bodily, after all sin is worse than bodily sickness. Sin adversely affects all of human dimensions – his relationship with himself, with others and with God.
The bodily healing of paralytic is just a sign for the people to see Christ’s power to forgive sins. Indeed, he is the Son of God. If he is able to accomplish the harder thing, that is, to forgive sins, he can do the easier thing – to heal the paralysis of the body. The gospel event is meant to show that Christ is the healer of body and soul.
Health is wealth. If we are healthy in body, mind and soul, we have more than enough. Advent characteristically brings the past and keeps its joyful remembrance into the present. The presence of God in us keeps us alive, not just alive but healthy. Advent is a season of grace, an “appointed time” with the Lord who comes to us in the here and now. May the joyful remembrance of Jesus’ presence brings us total healing not only in the season of Advent but all the days of our earthly life. (Fr. Manny de Leon, SVD Bible Diary 2007)
As a young boy growing up in Iloilo, one wonderful sight I often had was that of several men using long, sturdy bamboo poles, and transferring a whole native house from its original place to another site. The bigger the native house, the more men were needed to carry it. In my young mind, I only understood it as a family moving to another place (not a very far place, of course) literally bringing along the house. It was when I grew up that I came to understand the deeper meaning of the scene. What helped me come to such understanding was when I saw the same scene pictured in some magazines to depict the bayanihan spirit of the Filipinos. Indeed such rustic scene portrays camaraderie,cooperation and teamwork.
The gospel scene for today is a miniature depiction of the same spirit of bayanihan, of camaraderie, deep friendship and cooperation. Unable to go through the door of the house, the paralytic’s friends lowered him to where Jesus was through the roof in order for the paralytic to be healed. How I loved to have such committed friends! These were clearly real friends who through thick and thin assisted a friend in his extreme need. I bet you want to have such friends too! I always remember someone stressing to me before that if one wants to have friends then he/she should be a friend himself/herself first. Thus I can pose these questions to all of us: “Can I be such a friend, as the paralytic’s, to others? am I willing to go the extra mile especially for those in extreme need?” While we are at it, we might as well ask, “Here I found in Jesus a real friend?” If not, then I better start working on it right here right now! (Fr. Emmanuel Menguito, SVD Bible Diary 2009)
December 10, 2012
Monday of the
Second Week of Advent
The Healing of a Paralytic
17One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. 18And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set [him] in his presence. 19But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. 20When he saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” 21Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” 22Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? 23Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” 25He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. 26Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”
When he saw their faith. The men who bring the paralytic have faith in Jesus. They believe that Jesus is their only hope for the man’s healing. They see compassion and mercy in Jesus. And he has the power to give fullness of life.
The determination and resourcefulness of these men are admirable. Undeterred by the crowd, they go up on the roof and lower the sick man in front of Jesus. The Lord wishes us to help carry one another’s burdens and to bring others to him.
The paralytic’s stretcher describes his helplessness and symbolizes his hopelessness. Jesus challenges the paralytic to rise, pick up his stretcher, and go home. Jesus inspires him to put aside helplessness and hopelessness.
This is what Jesus continues to do to us. Our cross may be heavy, our chalice bitter, and our road rough. Yet, we are not hopeless, lost, or defenseless. We have Jesus. We can rely on him. He will surely help and heal. And he is the best we can ever have.
Who are the persons whom I wish to bring to Jesus for help and healing?
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