Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dramatic Descent


7th Sun. Ordinary Time
Mk 2:1-12

Sometimes I wish that I could make a movie based on the Gospel of St. Mark.  Just think how wonderfully dramatic the scenes would be:  Jesus asleep in the apostles’ boat while the storm rages: Jesus expels the demons and the pigs go rushing down the hillside and are drowned; or the scene in today’s Gospel.  I can see it all in my mind:  there Jesus is in Peter’s house, preaching to a standing room only crowd.  Four men carrying their paralyzed friend try desperately to muscle their way through to Jesus and are defeated by the sheer press and obstinacy of the people.  So they hoist themselves on to the roof along with the invalid (a superhuman feat in itself!), estimate where Jesus is below and then proceed to tear apart the tiles.  As the debris falls down and the noise disturbs the sermon, Peter looks up to see his house being destroyed.  He jumps up shouting, “Hey, what are you guys doing?” Jesus tells him to sit down, they can repair the roof later.  Then comes down the paralytic on his mat in a most incredible descent, precariously held by ropes held by his faithful friends.  Seeing their faith, Jesus works His wonders on both body and soul.

But even more dramatic than the physical event happening was the spiritual drama taking place.  Our modern translators have done us a disservice here.  They tell us that Jesus said, “Child, your sins are forgiven” (past tense), but the Greek actually says, “your sins are being forgiven” (present tense).  The heroic, active faith of the paralytic’s friends have set in motion the mercy of God which at that moment is reaching out to heal first the paralysis of this man’s soul before attending to his motionless limbs.  Evidently, Jesus saw the movement of the man’s heart accepting the grace of forgiveness which his lips could not express.  The Lord could then perform the outward miracle which would be the sign of the man’s new inner freedom.

What a consoling story this is for us who know so many people paralyzed by sin, so many relationships frozen by animosity!  In prayer we can lay them all at the feet of Jesus, who, seeing our faith will begin the process of reconciliation for our loved ones who suffer and yet are unable to help themselves or go to Him on their own.  By our love and faith we can bring them into the radiance of Divine Mercy.

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