Believing for Others

The healing of the paralytic told in today’s gospel from Mark is a great story.(Mark 2: 1–12) Four friends bring him to the door of Peter’s house in Capernaum but the crowds are so dense that they can’t get in to see Jesus so they climb up on the roof, cut a hole in it and lower him down before Jesus. Was the paralyzed man conscious, or half conscious? We don’t know.

What ingenuity! What nerve! What determination on the part of his friends! Think of the logistics involved in it all. The pictures here show the ruins of Peter’s house now enclosed in a shrine and a picture from the shrine looking down into the house–possibly just where the man was lowered down.

We know Jesus forgave the man’s sins and then healed him completely, so he left the house carrying the mat that once bore him. The gospel wants us to recognize that Jesus the healer is Jesus who forgives sins. But some who heard his words of forgiveness that day were shocked by this action which they rightly judged was divine.

But I’m led back to the four friends who had a part in this miracle. Let’s not forget them. They believe and their belief makes them go to extraordinary lengths to  help another .  We believe for others as well as for ourselves. Faith reaches out; it doesn’t remain within.  Believing prompts us to do daring things.

Back to Peter’s house. Did Peter look up that day and say, “Who’s going to pay for that hole in the roof?” The story of the paralyzed man is a wonderful story. But it also has an ominous part to it. Scribes, sitting in judgment, call him a blasphemer for pronouncing sins are forgiven. Opposition to Jesus begins to build that leads to his death.

9 thoughts on “Believing for Others

  1. Barbara McGovern

    I have been thinking about the four friends of the paralyzed man you focused on today. They were trying to accomplish an impossible-looking task — as happens so often. They surveyed the scene and figured out a daring plan and then put faith into their goal. Perhaps it helped that there were four, so in case one became fainthearted, the rest could push him along. The story is inspiring on many levels. Thank you for your new slant on this story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. vhoagland Post author

    Good insight Barbara. Can’t do much alone, but four will do it, with faith supplying. Nice to see you today.
    Fr.Victor

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  3. Gail Smyder

    I like your reflection Father. So, maybe we will be led to do extraordinary things for those we meet on our journey this Lenten season. Let’s pray so.
    Our imagination can do alot with this roof lifting story……….

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  4. Gloria

    Except for Communion, I didn’t have a chance to talk with you on Sunday about your wonderful homily. I love that you tell stories about the Scriptures
    and share your background from being in the Holy Land. Do you remember
    several years ago that you were at Sarah’s house for dinner with Mary Alice, Joan (the chef), Pat and I to plan a Lenten mission for St. Mary’s? One
    of the Scripture stories was the paralyzed man played by Ralph. Your homily
    brought all that to mind. The pictures are also wonderful; not a bit blurry.
    Thank for this and all your wonderful homilies!

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  5. cenaclemary12

    Thanks for the reminder about friends in faith. I have just asked my prayer partners to pray for my sister who is in hospital after fall and being evaluated. At age 87 she is active and this is seriously painful event. Having friends who give prayerful support means much.

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  6. fdan

    Dear Father Victor, thank you for your reflection. There are people who help bring us to Jesus when we can’t quite get there on our own. People like you and GMC. Thank you.

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  7. cenaclemary12

    This time last year my sister had a fall at home. Tests showed 4 stress fractures in her pelvis. A week in hospital and many prayers later she went to Rehab, avoiding a complicated surgery which would be done at another hospital 2 hours from home. For 8 weeks she could not put any weight on her left leg. She was dischared right before COVID-19 outbreak, received PT at home. Now she is able to drive for weekly grocery shopping, to Sunday Mass with husband and to doctor appointments. She felt the Prayer support from others and believes in God’s assistance through the medical staffers and helpers who cared for her.
    May the power of prayer be experienced by many more people!

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