“When he saw their faith, he said,
‘As for you, your sins are forgiven.’ ”
As I read this Gospel, I am struck by the simple love and determination of these unnamed men for their paralyzed friend. They are not idly interested in the possibility of witnessing a miracle. They are men with a purpose, whose love will take them to great lengths to see their friend well again. They are also men who have great faith in the power of God at work through Jesus.
In one translation, the word for “faith” in this Gospel is translated as “trust.” I like this way of thinking about faith. We hear the word “faith” so often, that at times it might bounce off our minds and hearts without hitting the mark. We assume we have faith—after all, we go to Mass on Sundays and say our prayers, right? But in a world where true relationships can be hard to find, the word “trust” can hit our ears and minds in a different way. We know the risks and rewards contained in that simple word.
Perhaps what strikes me most in this Gospel is Jesus’ response to the great trust these men have in him. Seeing their perseverance and hope as a sign of great faith, he is moved to action, healing the paralyzed man in spirit and in body.
What might this mean for us? Perhaps it means that we, too, have this gift and this responsibility to bring one another before the Lord in faith. At times, each of us walks through the dark valley, feeling that God is far away and prayer is next to impossible. In these moments of spiritual and emotional paralysis, what would it be like to remember and to believe that my family and friends can bring me before Jesus in faith when I can no longer bring myself?
It remains a message of great hope to realize that I, too, can do this for those whom I love.
Lord Jesus, this Advent you are calling me to a deeper trust in you—to a trust that believes in the power of prayer. It can be so painful to watch loved ones wander farther and farther away from you, or fall deeper and deeper into emotional darkness and pain. Today, I am bringing before you those in my life who seem to be wandering in darkness. You are the light that dawns in all hearts. Thank you for your healing light and for the power of your Spirit at work in our lives.
Jesus, I trust in you.
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 30–31). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.