SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: Healing of a Paralytic
Many would come to the Lord and seek healing. The request for healing could come from the individual in need, such as the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda or the man born blind. In today’s gospel, it is a group of four men who do “a good deed” and carry the paralytic man on a pallet and then lower the paralytic down through an opening in the roof due to the crowded area and place him right alongside Jesus.
Once again, we hear that it is faith that is needed for the Lord to effect the cure. “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:2) We are to believe that Jesus is Lord, the Son of God, the Messiah Whom the Prophets foretold would come to deliver us from sin and all its evil consequences.
From time to time, we all are in need of healing, whether physical or spiritual or both. Some of us are in greater need and others less. The Lord God Who is the Physician (Healer) of soul and body can provide us with that gift, the grace of healing. We who seek healing are to have faith and co-operate with the grace of God.
There is a Ukrainian saying, proverb, that “Health is wealth.” Along with having good physical health, one is to have a good and healthy outlook on life itself and in dealing with others. Most individuals are ready and willing to “celebrate life” and should be thankful to God for the gift of life and good health. Let’s remember that it is God Who is the source of all goodness.
Physical and spiritual health go together and are interrelated. Spiritual health is to be freed, delivered from sin. Nonetheless, the Lord reminds us that of the two, spiritual health which leads to salvation of soul is to be first and foremost in our daily lives. We may sojourn seeking “the good” here on earth; however, we know that the earthly is temporal and temporary. For us, true-believers, we know and understand that this is not our final or ultimate destination. Rather, we are to walk “the straight and narrow path” leading to the Heavenly City, the Eternal Kingdom of Heaven.
So, whenever pain and suffering come our way and it will, we are to face it not alone but along with Christ. And if our community, church or parish be truly Christian, then our caring for others will be all-inclusive, excluding no one and welcoming all. Christ will truly be in our midst.
St. Paul reminds us Christians that the joy of one is to be the joy of all. But he also reminds us that the ache of one is to be the ache of all. The joy many may be willing and ready to participate and “celebrate” the good times, those without any pain or suffering.
Just as it is a sign of a “true friend” when he or she stands alongside the other in less than easy times, so too it’s a sign of a true Christian and member of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. Having the spirit of Christian unity and solidarity the other members of the Mystical Body of Christ could be counted on to the other member in need. The Church community would be able to “lighten” the burden and to make “more bearable” the pain and suffering that individual or individuals encounter. Our love of God and love of neighbor, brother or sister in Christ in need, would be manifest in concrete acts of compassion, charity and mercy.
This spirit of caring is not just a thought or desire. It provides help in the “here and now.” The spiritual and corporal works of mercy are but just some of the good deeds to be done. All in all, it is a work of compassion, suffering along with the other person who is a child of God. This charitable spirit of caring may be shown in the ordinary events of the day. It may be a smile or a kind word which costs us nothing, except a little time and effort to actually do so.
Prayer is always a possibility and can and should be done frequently. We turn and focus our attention to God Who can do all things. With the Lord God, there is nothing impossible. He is the Omnipotent, the All-Powerful, Almighty God, Who can work “miracles.”
Prayer empowers and enables us to face the challenges and difficulties encountered in the world today and each and every day. With faith, hope and patient endurance, the steadfast Christian remains positive in one’s approach and thinking. This positive attitude prevents any one of us from giving up hope and becoming despondent. We offer up our pains and sufferings along with those of Christ on the Cross Who redeemed mankind of sin.
God does not want us to go it alone in this life. God wants us to turn to Him in the hour of need. But the Lord God also wants and expects us to be sensitive to the needs of our “less fortunate” brother or sister in Christ. Having the spirit of Christ, Total Love and Total Truth, we are ready and willing to do our part in making the world “a better place” for everyone. Our earthly destiny as an individual and as a group depends upon it. Besides all this and moreso, our eternal destiny will so be determined. The Lord, the merciful but just Judge, shall one day determine if each person did or did not show compassion, charity and mercy to the “less fortunate” one in need. And so our eternal destination will be determined – entry into the Eternal Kingdom of Heaven or not.
And this display, manifestation, of a lived faith is required of each of us. For in the words of St. Pope John Paul II of blessed memory stated that “It is our duty to lessen the suffering of those who suffer.”
Keep the faith, live in the spirit of Christ, letting our light shine brightly before men so that they may see the goodness of our deeds. Do this so that many souls may be saved!
Rev. D. George Worschak