After some days, Jesus returned to Capernaum. As the news spread that he was in the house, so many people gathered, that there was no longer room even outside the door. While Jesus was preaching the word to them, some people brought to him a paralyzed man.
The four men who carried him couldn’t get near Jesus because of the crowd, so they opened the roof above the room where Jesus was and, through the hole, lowered the man on his mat. When Jesus saw the faith of these people, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”
Now, some teachers of the law, who were sitting there, wondered within themselves, “How can he speak like this, insulting God? Who can forgive sins except God?”
At once, Jesus knew in his spirit what they were thinking, and asked, “Why do you wonder? Is it easier to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your mat and walk?’ But now you shall know, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
And he said to the paralytic, “Stand up, take up your mat and go home.” The man rose and, in the sight of all those people, he took up his mat and went out. All of them were astonished and praised God, saying, “Never have we seen anything like this!”
A small detail in today’s gospel reading is rather intriguing. Usually in a narrative presenting a healing, something is said of the faith of the petitioner. In fact, in most cases it seems that Jesus made the petitioner’s faith a pre-condition for the granting of a healing. But in today’s story not a word is said about the paralyzed man’s faith. Maybe because the man’s paralysis extended to his vocal chords and prevented him from speaking? The text does not specify. What the text does specify, though, is the faith of the paralyzed man’s four friends, who stubbornly untiled a roof to bring him to Jesus. Now if that is not determination, what is? Apparently, Jesus is entirely won over by this kind of solidarity. “When he saw their faith…”
We were never meant to be saved as isolated units. God wants to help each other on our spiritual journey and delights in nothing more than when he sees us reaching out to a brother or a sister in need (whether material or spiritual). We are not monads. We are a people. We are a family, God’s family.
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