1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22a
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
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 him,
“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 this.”
Good News Reflection:
In today’s Gospel story, we see the generous love that Jesus provides as expressed through the forgiveness of our sins and the healing of our souls. But I’d like to point out a bigger display of his generous love. Did you notice where this event took place? The first sentence of this scripture says: ” … he was at home.”
Jesus had moved to Capernaum after leaving Nazareth, and he returned here after his missionary trips. Peter also lived in Capernaum, and perhaps it was Peter’s house that Jesus called home.
Capernaum was an ideal location for Jesus. As a prosperous and very busy trade center linking land routes to the Sea of Galilee, many people passed through it. Jesus could easily gather large audiences from varied and faraway places that would spread the news well beyond this little town. A short walk from home would take him to the hillside (a natural amphitheater) where he preached the Sermon on the Mount to 5000 men plus untold numbers of women and children.
His love attracted so many people that there wasn’t enough room in his house to hold all those who wanted to see him. Try to imagine how Jesus felt about this. Think of the last time you had a lot of company. Were any of your possessions accidentally damaged? Imagine having so many visitors drop by that some cannot even get inside!
Now imagine the blade of a saw poking through the ceiling. Hear the sound of the blade remodeling your ceiling — you know you didn’t hire a contractor. Your roof is being chopped up without your permission! Someone’s forcing their way in.
Jesus reacts to all this with generous love. He probably felt excited instead of annoyed that so many people were cramming into his home. See the joy on his face as he realizes that the hole in his ceiling is another opportunity to share some Good News. Did he pause in mid-sentence when he heard the sawing and chopping? I’m sure his eyes twinkled and he grinned from ear to ear as he realized that a lame man was being lowered to him by the kindness of his friends.
If you ever suppose that your needs are an annoyance to Jesus, remember this Gospel story. He cares about you with the same generous love! When you crowd heaven with your prayers, Jesus gets happily excited. When you “bother” Jesus with questions about faith and about your life and your loved ones, he gives you his undivided attention. When you punch a hole into the world around you to find a way past all obstacles to get to Jesus, he surely grins a big grin! When you care so much for a friend that you help him or her no matter what the cost, you light up the face of Jesus with great joy.
So, the next time you have a crowd of people in your home, let them see the twinkle of Jesus in your eyes!
Lord, You can do everything. You have given me my life and You want to do great things in me. May my faith be an open door to all the blessings You have prepared for me. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica