February 19, 2012
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary
Listen to the podcast version here.
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 the paralytic, "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
Lord, I know that you are moved by human suffering.
What’s more, I know that you suffer when you see
me paralyzed: handicapped by egotism and sinfulness. So I turn
to you now, with filial confidence and love, certain of
your love for me and unfailing good will. Thank you,
Lord. I offer you my lowly self in return, knowing
this pleases you.
Petition: Lord, help me to overcome the obstacles that paralyze
me as your apostle.
1. The Principles of Life and Movement: The fundamental
law of life for a man or woman of the
Kingdom consists in growth and conquest, for these are intrinsic
to the Christian vocation. The first condition Christ lays down
if we would be his followers is the need to
deny ourselves and die to ourselves daily. And when he
speaks about the Kingdom of God, He reaffirms this law
of growth. The Kingdom is the seed that is cast
into the earth and day and night never stops growing;
it is the yeast that is constantly at work transforming
the dough. God´s grace is a principle of life and
movement, which is injected into the Christian and causes him
to grow continually. Sometimes we stop growing spiritually because we
reject God’s grace, or tire of serving others in need.
Thus paralysis sets in.
2. The Mustard Seed of Faith: Let us recall
the times of paralysis, in which some generous and faithful
soul led me to Christ who restored life to my
limbs! Let us never stop rising above ourselves, and let
us be ready to do the same for others. Anyone
who really wants to rise out of this morass, and
heal his spiritual paralysis and apostolic sterility should keep his
eyes on the ideal he must follow—taken flesh in Christ.
Christ never stops giving. He never refuses water to those
seeds of faith germinating in the hearts of the paralyzed.
3. Breaking Through
the Obstacles: Faith is contagious. It is beautiful to see
the determination and ingenuity of the paralytic’s friends. They are
willing to do anything to get their friend in front
of Christ. The desire to transmit grace—the principle of interior
life and movement—should encourage us to break through all obstacles.
This same desire that was enough to keep Pope John
Paul II active and constantly giving, long after his body
was hampered by physical paralysis.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I
want to be a conduit of your grace by bringing
others to you. Give me the gift of faith so
as to believe in your power more than in the
reality of obstacles that would paralyze me.
Resolution: I will be a witness
of Christ today, either by speaking about Christ directly or
by giving an example of supernatural charity.