At that time, Jesus entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city. And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemeth.” And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee’; or to say, ‘Arise, and walk’? But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins,” (then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) “Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thine house.” And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men (Matthew 9:1-8).
In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
A man was brought to the Lord Jesus Christ, paralysed, by four of his friends. And Christ, seeing their faith, said to him that he could be healed.
There are two things in this story which I would like you to think about. The one is that this man was ill, he was in need; perhaps he was unable either to express his need, or to express the faith that he had in the possibility of healing; but his friends had faith: faith in Christ, faith in His power to heal, to make whole. And they took this man and brought him to the Lord.
But their faith would not have been sufficient; many were paralysed, many were sick who did not find friends who would bring them to the healer. It is not only their faith in Christ, it is also their love to their friend that prompted them to act. And again, it is because this man, in the years when he was whole, was able to call out love, friendship, devotion, faithfulness in their hearts that in the hour of need they came to his rescue.
Here are two lessons for us; the one is that we can bring forth the needs of people — physical, spiritual and other needs; we can bring forth their needs to God if we have faith in His healing power, and our faith can open the gates of salvation for those who perhaps have not enough faith, who might not even be able to say, ‘I believe, Lord, help my unbelief — those who doubt, those who hesitate, those who are uncertain that we can bring them to the Lord. But this is possible only if the person in need has created in us, called out in us love; a love so personal, so faithful that we prove capable of acting. Or perhaps, if our life in Christ is deep enough that God has sawn into our hearts so much of His own compassion, of His own love that we can turn to the unknown, turn to whom we have never heard of, prompted by nothing but by his or her need, and bring him or her to God unto salvation, unto healing.
We must remember both the necessity for us to become capable of love and capable of calling out love around us. And also we must learn to have the daring of faith when we see need around us, and bring it to the Only One Who can resolve it, Who can heal, Who can make whole not only bodies, and minds, and souls, but the complex relationship between people.
Here is a calling, here is a vocation for us; let us pay attention to what God says to us in this Gospel, in this Good News of the power of love, divine and human, and the power of faith to which God’s love and mercy responds. Amen.