Saint Anthony, Abbot
1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22; Psalm 89:16-19;Mark 2:1-12
When Jesus saw their faith . . . (Mark 2:5)
Try to imagine you are one of the people carrying this paralyzed man. What is your relationship to him? Maybe you’ve known him for years and have seen him struggle through life. You feel very sorry about his paralysis, and you would give anything to see him walk. Then you hear about Jesus. You are determined to bring your friend to him. Even the large crowd at Capernaum doesn’t discourage you. You see that there is a way to Jesus—over their heads! With your friends, you break through the roof and lower him down. Then Jesus says something completely unexpected: it’s your faith that has healed your friend!
Imagine how surprised this man was. He thought it was all up to Jesus. And in one sense, he was right. Jesus did the healing, and he certainly could have done it without the man’s friends being present. But it was their love and their determination that touched Jesus’ heart and paved the way for the miracle.
Perhaps the most important miracle that we see in this reading is the unselfish devotion that this group of friends demonstrated. They understood, as Pope Francis has said, that “faith is a gift that one cannot keep to oneself, but it is to be shared.” They did what God wants all of us to do: they bonded together in a community of sorts. They committed themselves to helping each other come to the Lord, knowing that they couldn’t do it alone. They discovered the truth that none of us gets to heaven by ourselves. We carry other people with us, and sometimes they carry us.
This may be a good day to reflect on your relationship with your parish or faith community. Are there people in your life who are helping you come to the Lord? And are there people you are helping? It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic. Just your witness, your kind words, or your little acts of love may be enough. Whatever you are or are not doing, remember this: one person can do a lot, but when two or more gather in Jesus’ name, miracles can happen.
“Lord, I can’t live this Christian life on my own. Please lead me to people who love you and serve you. Help me to find where I fit in your body.”~WAU