May the Peace of Christ Reign in our hearts.
It’s kind of amazing when you picture this Gospel story in your mind.
Jesus has just returned to Capernaum.
The people of the town are so excited to see him.
There are so many people that they have surrounded his house and have blocked the doors and filled every window.
As they crowd around they listen to every word Jesus says.
All of a sudden while Jesus is speaking there is noise on the roof, than scraps of wood and mud and palm frons begin to fall into the room.
And as everyone watches in amazement a hole begins to form in the roof and by now everyone is wondering what is going on.
Then to top it off all of a sudden a man in a stretcher is lowered into the room next to Jesus.
And if all of this isn’t enough Jesus simply looks at the man and says “your sins are forgiven.”
When the scribes and religious leaders of his time hear this they complain “Who is this who claims to forgive sins.”
So to prove to them and everyone that He does indeed have the power to forgive sins, Jesus simply tells the man get up and walk.
And with those words man who was unable to walk before and had been lowered into the room gets up and walks out.
This whole passage reads like a scene from a movie with one unexpected event after another.
Let’s try and look at the cast of characters
The people have seen Jesus do pretty incredible things... that’s why they are crowding around him but they are not sure if his good deeds are from God or not.
With today’s healing and the forgiveness of sins many are beginning to believe that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.
The religious leaders of the time are very confused.
They see good things happening but they don’t know how to react to them.
They are stuck in their conviction that only God can forgive sins and this man couldn’t possibly be God.
Whoever he is they see this new Rabbi as a threat to their power authority and place in society.
They are not happy.
The men who carried the paralytic are pretty extraordinary.
They were men of faith and men of action.
They must have had really big hearts.
They believed in Jesus and would stop at nothing to get their friend or relative to Him.
They probably struggled along the way to Jesus’ house.
We don’t know how long they travelled.
We do know that it is not easy carrying someone on a stretcher.
When they arrived and could not get near Jesus they did not give up or get discouraged.
Filled with faith they did something extraordinary and climbed up on the roof.
The man who was being carried must have been a very special person so special that his friends or relatives would do anything for him.
He too dared to believe in Jesus.
Dared to hope in his power to heal.
Finally from today’s gospel passage we learn that Jesus is slowly but surely drawing those around Him into the mystery of His identity and mission.
With each passing day they learn a little more about Him.
He inspires by His words.
He is compassionate.
He heals people.
For some He is indeed sent by God,
for others He is threat.
Today’s Gospel story is the first time Jesus allows the crowd to know that he can even forgive sins.
You know there is a little bit of us in each of these characters.
Quite frequently we are pulled towards a strong personality like Jesus, amazed at how they are able to communicate or what they have accomplished.
And quite frankly we can be pretty fickle the today’s hero is tomorrow’s failure.
Sadly like the Religious leaders of Jesus’ time sometimes we refuse to change our perspective on what’s going on in our lives.
Sometimes our opinions are set in stone and nothing will change them.
Hopefully like them men who carried the sick man to Jesus, we care about others.
Care about others enough to eve climb a roof for them.
Which brings us to our weekly questions.
Have we ever really cared enough about another person to carry them?
Carry them through a sickness, or the loss of their job or an addiction or whatever..
Have we ever really carried someone?
When we’ve run into obstacles in our lives have we let them win or have we found a way around them like the men who would not be deterred and climbed the roof?
Do we really believe that God loves us and will always do what’s best for us?
Finally are we aware of our own brokenness or sinfulness and do we believe that Jesus can and will forgive our sins if we ask him?
As we begin Lent these are all very important questions to ponder.
This Lent may the Lord in His love and mercy call us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and His love for us.
May he inspire us to be men and women of faith and action.
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