The Gospel according to Luke (5:17-26)
One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven, or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the one who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Jesus, allow me to receive your word in my life today. Prepare my heart for your coming. Jesus, you are so good.
Encountering Christ: We have heard this passage so many times, so I ask you where do we see yourselves in this scene? What resonates most in our hearts as we encounter God’s word here? 1) Do we sit beside the teachers of the law, drawing nearer to get to know a bit more about this Jesus and his message? 2) Do we sit down, hidden amongst the crowd about to witness a great miracle? 3) Or are we are carrying a friend (loved one) on that mat? 4) Or are we the paralytics, in need of the Lord’s healing?
Of course, we are taught through scripture that we must always act by loving one another and acting as Jesus would. But sometimes we are too busy to do that or our priorities at the time are different. Maybe our minds are pre-occupied by the bad things that are occurring in our lives, so we are blind to helping others. Maybe we have been all of these at different points in our life?
Just this weekend I was driving to Home Depot and it was overcast and foggy. I noticed this woman in the parking lot that was homeless and distraught. She was obviously cold, and it appeared like she was crying. I thought to myself that I would park, run in a make my purchase and then I could go assist her. When I returned, she was gone. I drove around the lot but I couldn’t find her. By me not acting immediately to the needs of my sister and only caring about agenda has really disturbed me.
The paralytic’s friends could not find a way in, but they didn’t give up at the first or the second “no.” They continued looking for a way to bring their friend to Jesus. We can sometimes get frustrated when our best efforts to reach out to Jesus seem to fail. What, or who, are we trying to bring to Jesus this Advent? How might Jesus be inviting us to press on—to find a creative, even if different or unexpected way, to break through the crowd, to bring souls to him?
This season of Advent is a time for us to reach out to others. It’s a time for us to long for the coming of Our Lord. We need to try to be the paralytic’s friends.
Closing Prayer: I trust in you, Good Jesus, and I love you. Move my heart to respond to you in greater love, one step closer on this Advent journey to the manger side.
Action of the Day: Recall a day when you didn’t assist someone. What would you do different?