January 15th, 2021

The Gospel according to Mark (2:1-12)

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way?  He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” –he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, please open my heart and my mind to the lessons you have for me as I reflect on this Scripture. I know you always want the very best for me and that you meet me in these moments of quiet so that I can get to know you better and trust you more.

Encountering Christ:

Jesus was just beginning his public ministry and already crowds encircled his home until there was no room for them. This crowd–these individual souls–were of utmost importance to Jesus; they were the very reason he came to earth. With all eyes on him, Jesus did not choose at first to work an astounding miracle. He chose to preach the word. Even when the paralytic was brought before him, Jesus was intent on working an “invisible” miracle—the forgiveness of his sins. Only to convince the doubters did Jesus perform a physical healing. Jesus has one priority—that we listen and obey the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church, and seek forgiveness of our sins when we fail to do so. This is a matter of eternal life or death.

I think sometimes we often look for the sensational in our lives rather than the ordinary. Isn’t that human nature? OR is that often times our downfall? 

This gospel begins with Jesus teaching in the ordinary way to all that had gathered around him and in his home. He surely spoke to them about the kingdom and yet this gospel points out a couple of other interesting or “sensational” points. First, the scene is of overcrowding and the need of the people to hear what Jesus was talking about that day. But then the story shifts and begins to tell of the four men and the paralytic that wanted to see Jesus for healing. How did those five men come together? Which of them had faith enough to decide to bring the paralytic to be cured, was it them OR was it the paralytic himself? In any event we know that as the paralytic was lowered into the room his sins were forgiven AND he was healed. Who wouldn’t be excited to get the two for one deal!

Jesus showed ALL gathered that day that he was the son of God, yet sadly the scribes had to be the ones to continue to spread doubt and test Jesus. Why? We should spend some time thinking about that!

So how does this gospel challenge us today? Our pandemic and political world brings us to a point that we might begin to doubt that God really IS in charge and that maybe he is taking a break from watching over the world.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. If we look hard enough into our daily lives we find the gift of life each morning we wake up and even come to read this daily posting. We are blessed in so many ways that we often just assume it will continue – health, family, job, etc. Do we ever take the time to look deep within ourselves and ask the question “do I truly believe, recognize and give praise to God for what he has done for me?” OR how about do we sit and reflect and give thanks for each gift we are graciously given by God? Are we responsible stewards of those gifts? Do we see ourselves like the paralytic man – asking for physical healing rather than spiritual healing? Jesus was so generous that day. He gave the paralytic both! What a blessing!

Take today and spend some time in prayer amidst your busy day and surrounded by distractions and think about how significant Jesus is to you. How has he blessed you and how has he answered your prayers. When we recognize the gifts from God we then become his living witnesses to the truth of God’s great care and love for each of us. Be that person today that will astound others around you by your positivity and love of God. Be bold, be Catholic and be the voice of Jesus – spreading his love.

Closing Prayer: Loving Father, I thank you for every blessing you shed upon me. Help me be a better servant for you and your kingdom. Give me the grace to persevere thru my times of doubt, personal pity and moments of feeling abandoned. Let me have faith that you will restore me, just like the paralytic man. I offer myself completely to you this day AMEN

Action for the Day: Sit for ten minutes this morning OR evening in quiet prayer and list the blessings that God gave you today. Then list the opportunities you had to share those blessings with others. When you have done that – now ask yourself…. Did I share or hoard what God entrusted to me.

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