MONDAY OF ADVENT – SECOND WEEK
December 10, 2018 (Lec. 181)
1) Isaiah 35:1-10
2) Luke 5:17-26
Gospel related: CCC 1116
Gospel LK 5:17-26
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing.
And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence.
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.”
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies?
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God.
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”
FOCUS: We are called to wait in hope for the Lord’s forgiveness and healing to take root and lead to transformation.
In today’s Gospel, we hear about some men who bring a paralyzed man, maybe a friend, to the Lord. They had obstacles to overcome – carrying him there, figuring out how to get him into such a crowded room, etc. Some might have been deterred at the seemingly impossible task, but not these men. They persevered. And once they had succeeded, once their friend was right in front of Jesus, they waited and hoped. And their hope and their faith were rewarded with forgiveness and healing: their friend was transformed into a new person, able to do what he couldn’t do before. Can we imagine how those men must have felt? The joy at seeing their hope fulfilled?
Many of us have at some point brought a friend, a loved one, a son, a grandchild, to the Lord. And like the men in the Gospel, we probably encountered obstacles, not least among them, our friend or loved one themselves. Our loved one, young or old, who finds the whole thing “boring,” who doesn’t see the point of Church, doesn’t believe in all that “God stuff.” And sometimes, these obstacles deter us and we throw our hands up and give up because it’s too exhausting to argue. Other times, we persevere maybe for no other reason than that we are obstinate.
But maybe the obstacle isn’t other people, maybe it’s us. We want something to happen and to happen now, and to happen just so. Yes, the men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus, but then they had to wait. They had to wait for the Lord to act, and they had to wait and see how their friend responded. They could neither make Jesus nor their friend do what they hoped each would do. But God is merciful, Jesus forgave and healed the paralytic, and he responded instantly to this transformation. Things don’t always work out in just this way, though; sometimes, in God’s mercy, we wait and God blesses us with something – but we do not respond as quickly or as readily as the paralytic did.
And how hard it is to wait with hope for healing and transformation to take root. How hard it is to accept that we can’t make this happen for others – that we must leave the work of forgiveness, healing and transformation in the Lord’s capable hands. But fortunately, the Lord doesn’t leave us to struggle with this challenge alone. He strengthens us in hope and in faith through the gift of his very self in the Eucharist, reminding us that he is always with us – always forgiving us, and always healing and loving us.
So let us wait, in hope, for all that God will do in, through and for us, even as he is doing things right now. Let us persevere in faith, remembering that through the redemption and advocacy made possible in Jesus Christ, we are always, like the paralytic in the story, placed into the middle [and] in front of the Lord.
(by Ralph Cushman)
I met God in the morning, When my day
was at its best,
And His presence came like sunrise, Like
a glory in my breast.
All day long the presence lingered; All day
long He stayed with me;
And we sailed in perfect calmness, O’er a
very troubled sea.
Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed,
But the winds that seemed to drive them,
Brought to us a peace and rest.
Then I thought of other mornings, With a
keen remorse of mind,
When I too had loosed the moorings, With
the Presence left behind.
So I think I know the secret, Learned from
many a troubled way;
You must seek Him in the morning, If you
want Him through the day.
Morning Prayer – Derrol Sawyer (The Secret – Ralph Cushman):