- Sr Siobhán
There has to be another way into this house
Second Week of Advent: Monday
Reading: Luke 5:17-26
Jesus was teaching one day and among the audience there were Pharisees and doctors of the Law who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was behind his works of healing. Then some men appeared, carrying on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him. But as the crowd made it impossible to find a way of getting him in, they went up on the flat roof and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith he said, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. ‘Who is this man talking blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made this this reply, ‘What are these thoughts you have in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven you” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralysed man – ‘I order you: get up and pick up your stretcher and go home.’ And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God. They were all astounded and praised God, and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’
Reflection This lovely Gospel passage oozes with life, challenge, mystery, hope and healing. Jesus was going about his mission as he usually did. As ever, people came to listen to him for a variety of reasons. Doctors of the law may have wanted to learn from him; pharisees had a reputation for being curious, critical and opportunistic to catch him out. God’s little ones, the anamwim were meek and humble of heart and wished to deepen their relationship with the living God. A reputation for healing had spread through the countryside and reached the ears of a paralysed man and his friends. They set off to meet Jesus and when they found that they could not get close to him, they were undeterred. A way had to be found so entry was gained through the roof. The disabled man is gently laid at the feet of the Divine Physician and all trust that the prayer of their hearts will be heard. Christ hears and responds to prayer but not always in ways that we expect. In this instance the spiritual wellbeing of the man is his greatest concern, and he immediately forgives him his sins. Outraged the pharisees are on the attack and question Jesus. Calling each one present to deeper faith, he proceeds to heal the physical disability of the man and sends him home. Rejoicing and gladness abound. We are encouraged to approach Jesus with faith filled hearts so that each area of our lives can be blessed by his love.