January 18, 2013

The Gospel Today

Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Mk 2: 1-12

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.”

Reflection (Sem. Jonathan T. Cigaral)

One of the challenges of the Year of Faith among us Catholics is not just to strengthen our faith but to bring every people we know closer to God.  The scope of this responsibility begins with our family and extends to all people that we encounter who need spiritual enlightenment.  In most family that I know of, there is always a member whom I can call as a “spiritually paralytic” person.  This is a person who has the faith but is hindered or spiritually incapacitated by so many things in his life.  These hindrances may be the problems that he carries with him, his occupation, the influence of his environment, his lack of enlightenment on matters about faith, and others.  There are so many reasons that we can enumerate which can be considered as stumbling blocks to a person’s growth in faith.  Thus, this really poses a challenge to those who are given the opportunity to go through extensive education about our faith.  The essential question is:  How do we make use of our knowledge about faith in bringing people closer to God?

If there is one person in my life that I really want to bring closer to God it is my eldest brother.  My brother is into politics and does not have much time for praying.  His priorities changed when he totally immersed himself into politics.  Even hearing mass during Sundays is a bit of a challenge because of his hectic schedule.  I know deep within my brother’s heart is his great faith in God.  This is evident on how he expresses his love for his family particularly to his children.  That is why it is through his family that I make all the efforts in bringing them closer to Jesus.

Just like what the four men did who brought the paralytic to Jesus, we should find all possible ways on how we could bring people closer to God.  We should not be like the scribes who, despite their intellectual giftedness, served as obstructions to others in believing in Jesus.  Let us extend our faith and be God’s messengers by embracing those who are spiritually paralyzed.

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