Readings for Monday of the Second Week in Advent: Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 85; Luke 5:17-26
"And when he saw their faith he said, 'Man, your sins are forgiven you.'" Luke 5:20
In today's Gospel reading, St. Luke tells the familiar account of the men who lowered their paralyzed friend through the roof of a house in order to get to Jesus, in hopes that Jesus would heal him. Many things can be said about this passage, and indeed much ink has been spilled over it throughout the ages by more learned Christians than me. But in any event, here are two observations:
- What friends this paralyzed man had, and what role models they are of true Christian friendship! For one who truly loves a friend--love meaning, as St. Thomas Aquinas would say, to will the good of the other person--will lead that friend to the feet of Jesus, no matter how inconvenient or difficult it may at first seem. Perhaps you have a friend this Advent who needs to be lowered through the roof in order to experience Christ's healing power.
- As St. Luke tells us, Jesus was impressed by the men's faith and their willingness to go to the trouble of lowering their friend through the roof. But notice that Jesus did not heal him immediately. Instead, he told the paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven. Here again, Jesus takes the opportunity to remind us of the horror of sin and the damage it causes to our souls. Because as broken and in need of healing as the paralyzed man's physical body was, it paled in comparison to the pitiful condition of his soul due to sin. In reality, each and every one of us is paralyzed due to sin--both original sin and those that we personally commit--although we sometimes don't realize it. And like the paralyzed man from the Gospel reading, we must be willing to go to any lengths to see Jesus, lay before him, and be healed, even if it means going through the roof. For every time we seek his mercy, he will say "your sins are forgiven you . . . rise and walk." (Luke 5:23)
God love you.