And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9:2).
Matthew’s account of this scene is much simpler than Mark and Luke’s, but the point is the same. The person paralyzed received healing because some people were willing to bear his weight and creatively bring him to Jesus. In neither of the three accounts do we know who the people are that bring this man to Jesus for healing. Were they family, friends, or neighbor? It does not matter. They were aware of someone in need, they believed Jesus could heal, and they put forth the effort to bring this man to Jesus.
Are we like those men; are we aware? St. Mother Teresa often said that people are “not only hungry for bread – but hungry for love, naked not only for clothing – but naked for human dignity and respect, homeless not only for want of home and bricks, – but homeless because of rejection.” Let us resist the temptation to be indifferent to the needs of others, to rationalize why we ought not to care, or worse give in to our fears and prejudices so to dehumanize and reject others in need.
There are so many in need, so many who are hurting that we can feel overwhelmed about how or where to begin. We can start by being aware. How is God speaking to us in our conscience toward those who are in need. If we feel called to support the unborn – good, the refugee or immigrant – good, the disabled – good. There are so many more different needs that I can list. Let us not get trapped into criticizing others for reaching out to help in a different way than we feel called to do. We just need to be honest about where God is leading us and act as the four in our Gospel reading today did; be aware of someone in need, meet that need with the resources available, access our personal gifts of creativity and bring them to Jesus as we are able. By collaborating with Jesus in this way miracles can and do still happen.
Today, let us reject the temptation to turn away from another person in need, and instead rise up and live our faith as disciples of Jesus to love, to give of our self to respect the human dignity of those in our midst, and do as the writer of Hebrews shares, “Encourage each other while it is still today” (Hebrews 3:13).
The Lord hears the cry of the poor do we?
Painting: Healing of the Paralytic – James Tissot
Link for the Mass readings for Thursday, July 5, 2018: