The story of paralytic’s healing is the lectionary reading for this Sunday. It is a familiar and inspirational story about the courageous faith of a few men who, despite every difficulty, managed to carry their sick friend on a stretcher to the house where Jesus was preaching and, by climbing walls and breaking roofs, found the miracle and healing they were hoping for.
To truly appreciate the spiritual depth of this story, let’s take a closer look at some of the details. The people carrying the paralytic had a friend they cared for and loved who was very sick. The first remarkable fact is how they responded to the pain of someone they loved. They did not simply pray about it, comfort their friend, or try to support him with words. Instead, they decided to do something about it. The second thing one must admire is how undeterred they were and how hard they tried to help their suffering friend.
It appears that everything and everyone depicted in the story was an obstacle they had to overcome. Think about it. In the story, we have the crowd surrounding the house and preventing them from approaching the house; the house itself – because it being so full of people was separating them from Jesus by thick walls; the religious leaders inside the house who would question the legitimacy and likelihood of the healing and finally their own friend on whose tremendous leap of faith and response to Jesus’ command, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’ the entire healing depended.
But none of these difficulties disappointed the group of such dedicated friends who managed to get through the crowd, climb up walls carrying a stretcher, break the roof and lower their friend in front of Jesus, hoping for a miracle. Seeing this tremendous demonstration of faith, Jesus granted complete recovery and healing to their friend.
There are times when our lives are disturbed and overtaken by pain, loss, suffering, and tragedy. In such moments we instinctively turn to God, pray and hope for a miracle. And often, that is all we do – pray. Praying is very important, but sometimes we also need to act and work towards the realization of our miracle. We need to take bold and brave steps by removing the barriers and walls we erected which separate us from God’s healing love and presence. Sometimes, we, too, like the paralytic’s friends, need to overcome the obstacles that life throws on our paths, focus on hope in the love and mercy of God, and close our ears to perspectives and thoughts that discourage us from believing and pursuing our miracle. It might be hard, and at times, it might appear impossible, but if we continue to walk in faith towards Christ, we will undoubtedly reach him, who will be there waiting to heal and restore us with his healing touch and loving embrace.