And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town. And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”
But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he then said to the paralytic—’stand up, take your bed and go to your home.”
And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.
When we read or hear this Gospel, we often get wrapped up in the miracle which Jesus performs, and rightfully so. But the people who carry the stretcher are integral to the healing and saving of the paralytic. Their faith in Jesus is what led them to care for the paralytic.
Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, writes in his book Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion: “Compassion isn’t just about feeling the pain of others; it’s about bringing them in toward yourself. If we love what God loves, then, in compassion, margins get erased. ‘Be compassionate as God is compassionate,’ means the dismantling of barriers that exclude.”
Does your faith in Jesus open your eyes to those in need? How does your faith draw you to those on the margins?
I’ve come to think that the only, the supreme, prayer
we can offer up, during these hours
when the road before us is shrouded in darkness,
is that of our master on the cross:
“In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.”
(Into your hands I commend my spirit.)
To the hands that broke and gave life to the bread,
that blessed and caressed, that were pierced; . . .
to the kindly and mighty hands that reach down
to the very marrow of the soul that mould and create
to the hands through which so great a love is transmitted
it is to these that it is good to surrender our soul,
and above all when we suffer or are afraid,
and in so doing there is a great happiness and a great merit.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!