Mark’s account of the healing of a paralytic shows elements of a firsthand testimony, and he must have derived it from the remembrance of Simon Peter. Peter would remember clearly that day when so many people gathered together at the house, probably his, where Jesus was teaching and healing. He must have been slightly amused—and Jesus, too—at the “originality” of four men in opening up the roof of the house to lower their paralytic friend in front of Jesus.
Mark mentions “mat” (“stretcher” in Matthew and Luke) and the “(thatched) roof” (“tiles” in Luke), harking back to the original Palestinian setting where many people were poor. The paralytic is carried by a group of friends. The evangelist notes: “When Jesus saw their faith…” The four friends show confidence and loyalty to Jesus (the basic meaning of “faith”). They trust that Jesus will heal their friend.
Jesus often inquires about the person’s faith as a condition for the requested miracle. But faith is here shown by the companions of the paralytic. We are not even sure if the paralytic has faith in Jesus or has simply played along with his friends so as not to offend them by belittling their concern for his welfare. At any rate, Jesus takes into account not just the faith of the paralytic (if he had any) but also the faith of his friends. This tells us that the power of intercession is real and decisive!
Gospel • MARK 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 the paralytic, “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.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.