The fifth chapter of Luke's Gospel (17-26) is one of my favorites. It reminds us of the power of faith, family, friendship, and hope. It shows us that faith in Jesus leads to healing, sometimes a different kind than we seek.
We’re not told the identity of the men who carried the paralyzed man. So, they may have been his family or friends or a combination. But either way, their love for that man is one of action. If you’ve ever helped someone move from bed to chair or maybe lifted a stretcher, you know it’s no small feat. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t take an Uber or taxi to get to where Jesus was teaching, so their efforts were a labor of love.
Perhaps you’ve accompanied someone to a doctor’s appointment and seen a crowded waiting room. That’s what those men saw when they reached their destination. But unlike our medical appointment system, they knew their only hope was to literally go above and beyond to reach Jesus. Again, I marvel at the perseverance, strength, and innovation of those men to safely lift and lower the man who was paralyzed.
When Jesus saw the man being lowered through the roof, we’re told, “When He saw their faith, he said, ‘As for you, your sins are forgiven.’”
Did you notice it says that when He saw their faith? Jesus credits the men who brought the man and the one who has been brought to Jesus. Like a family member or friend who brings us to a doctor’s appointment, they believed in the healing power of Jesus and so went all in to help this man.
Jesus must have surprised them when He effected a different kind of healing than most would have sought or expected. It is surprising that it wasn’t the paralytic man or his caring friends who objected but the Pharisees.
I believe this shows that the paralyzed man knew that he needed to be forgiven for his sins. Jesus’ message in this order of healing shows a priority on what will matter for eternity. As pressing as our physical illnesses are, to reach our eternal home, we need to be set free from our sins.
This line in Luke's Gospel caught my attention, “The power of the Lord was with him (Jesus) for healing.” My brothers and sisters, every hour of every day, the power of healing is with Jesus; it is up to us to go to Him, to seek His healing through the Sacrament of Confession, through the Sacrament of the Sick, and our daily prayers. May our faith, love for family and friends, and hope lead us to be like those men to bring others to Jesus, especially during this Advent Season.
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About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!