January 16, 2015

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.”
This story of a paralytic and his friends who in desperation went to extreme measures in order to get to Jesus, makes me think of the expression, “I can’t wait to get home.”
Webster defines home as: “Out of jeopardy, in a comfortable position.”
The paralytic recognized his own helplessness and knew that if he could only get to Jesus he would be safe, he’d be “home free.”
No wonder Jesus was so impressed with his faith.
For me, this scripture passage presents an occasion for self-examination. To whom do I turn when confronted with a desperate situation? Frankly many times, my first inclination is to try to solve the problem myself.
The paralytic, however, was powerless to help himself and therein lays the secret.
Christ is not intrusive, but he will help me when I turn it over to him.
A good friend of mine who suffers from drug addiction recently had a relapse after more than a decade of sobriety. Once he “picked up”, he resisted the efforts of family and friends to help him and continued taking drugs over a period of several months.
He recently told me, “Jim, in the detox, I had nothing left. I finally gave up and surrendered, I got on my knees and prayed. Lord, help me, help me.”
Like the paralytic, my friend had finally accepted his own powerlessness and turned to God. It was only then that God could welcome him home, heal him and start him back on the road to life.
And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Mark 10:52