We all went through situations so challenging that we instantly and instinctively knew that only God could help and save us. In such moments, we turn to God, perhaps we come to church, light a candle, say a prayer and hope for a change and divine intervention. But then sometimes time passes without us seeing any change. At this point some of us might give up and move on, others assume that we did our part and the rest is up to God, some might feel uncertain if God even heard our prayers, others might wonder if our struggles are too small and insignificant for God. In such hopeless and helpless moments, spiritual perseverance and persistence serve as the sacred gateways that open and usher the divine presence and miracle into our lives.
In today’s Gospel reading we see Jesus returning home from a preaching ministry in Galilee. He and his disciples were probably tired and exhausted from the long journey. But returning home they found the house surrounded by a large crowd anxiously awaiting their return so they could learn from Jesus and ask for healing and recovery for their loved ones. On the edge of the gathered crowd, four people carried their paralytic friend on a stretcher. They were trying really hard to squeeze through the large crowd, make their way to the entrance, hoping that Jesus would heal their friend. But it appeared that no matter how hard they tried, they could not make it through and enter the house. They tried everything they could, they asked others to let them through and called on the name of Jesus hoping that he would hear them. But still, nothing worked. So they did something amazing and unexpected. They climbed up the roof of the house and somehow also managed to bring their friend on a stretcher along. They broke the roof and lowered the stretcher right in front of Jesus. Christ immediately healed their friend and granted him a complete recovery by seeing this astonishing demonstration of faith and love.
Most people might not realize that this was probably happening in Jesus’ own home in Capernaum, where he moved to from Nazareth. And it was literally by breaking Jesus’ roof that these people found the answer to their prayers and hopes. They could have decided that they tried everything they could and it did not work out. They could have assumed that they could come back another time or find another healer for their friend, but they did not.
There is much to admire and learn from their amazing perseverance and faith. When we need God the most in our lives, we too, sometimes might feel as though, no matter how much we pray and try, our prayers remain unanswered. At times God appears distant and disconnected from all the pain and suffering in and around us. In such moments, it is easy to lose hope, to stop praying, believing and hoping for a miracle and divine intervention. But these are also the moments when we need to embrace a life of unceasing and tireless prayer and devotion, nurturing and bringing forth a spirit of trust towards God and his promise that He hears all our prayers and supplications. Our perseverance, patience and prayers melt the barriers and obstacles separating from God and fill our lives and struggles with his presence that transforms and heals everything it touches and comes in contact with. In such moments of helplessness and powerlessness, sometimes we need to climb the roof, break it and open our wounded hearts and lives to our loving Lord who will be there waiting for us, ready to heal and restore us.