Monday, 2nd Week of Advent (10th December, 2018)
First Reading: Is 35: 1-10 (God comes to save you)
Gospel: Lk 5: 17-26 (We have seen strange things today)
The coming of the Lord is at times when all sorrows go away and joy and happiness return. It is also a time when “then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer and the tongue of the speechless sing for you” (Is 35:5-6). Yes, this was to be realised in the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Gospel clearly starts with the description of power of Jesus saying, “The power of the Lord was with him for healing”. And we know that all Gospels are filled with actions on the miracles and healings Jesus performed wherever he went. In many of the miracle accounts, we see the individual following Jesus pleasing for cure of their illness. For instance, Blind Bartholomew, blind man at Jericho. The ten lepers, syrophenician woman and many more. However there are a few miracle events where the family or relatives are others make supplication to the Lord for the cure e.g. Centurion requesting for cure of his servant, the woman for her daughter, Nain woman for her son, Simon Peter for his mother in law and so on. One of such accounts is today’s Gospel where we see a parlayed man is being brought by his relatives for the cure.
The miracle account of today explains to what extent people can go or have faith in Jesus so that they can get favour even for others. Jesus says, ‘If you have faith, you can move mountains’ (Mt 17: 20). The apparent reading initially gives us a doubt if this would be possible at all. But the Bible is full of metaphors, prophecy, images, simile and so does not literal sense of the words used. Rather it reflects for something else. When Jesus said, “Faith can move mountain, he meant that the disciples had faith as small as a mustard seed, they can move the demons who are at times as strong as a mountain. Even now it would so. Here in today’s gospel we find one such account of faith of people which is moving many. Not only the person laid in the bed for several years who gets out of his bed, walks with freedom from any slavery of sin but also it moves the heart of many. Some are given more faith through this account or the others had, a few, being skeptical as they are in believing Jesus as son of God.
Here is an account which increases the faith for us. The description of the Gospel is that men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralysed and sought to lay him before Jesus. Obviously it was for his cure. Thus we read that this could not find any what get the paralytic closer to Christ for Jesus was surrounded by many. Thus we see a greater thing happening. The man who brought him was not many in the back to his house or left him helpless. But they go to the extent of climbing on the roof or letting him down with his bed thought the tiles into the midst before Jesus. What follows is the positive action for Jesus in forgiving him his sins and curing him of his paralysis.
Here is an example of faith expressed in concrete actions coupled with concern for another person. It is as if to fulfil the command of Jesus the love of God (faith in God) and love of neighbour. They had deep faith in Christ and that faith was not just for the personal ends but for another person in need. This concrete act in faith is what St James would like to see in each Christian (Jam 2:14-17). He exhorts us to express our faith not only in works but actions as well.
Let us pray for ourselves that in and through faith in Him we too may grown so that we may be able to share the good news of God to others that “God will come and save you” as Isaiah proclaims. Amen.