Breaking the Roof Open!
In this week’s Gospel concerning the paralytic we see that Jesus has authority to forgive sins. However, there is another significant lesson in this Gospel. When the paralytic’s friends saw that he was unable to get near Jesus they opened up the roof above him to bring him to Christ. In 2015, at the World Meeting of Families, Archbishop Tagle of Manila gave a talk about the family being a ‘home for the wounded heart.” Of this Gospel he said:
“A beautiful image in the Bible of a Church that heals, even when it is wounded, is that small band of friends of a paralytic in Mark 2. You know those four friends, who did everything that they could? But when it was impossible to bring their friend close to Jesus because of the crowd, what did they do? They went up the roof. They opened up the roof to lower their friend to Jesus. That’s a family. That’s a parish. That’s a diocese. That’s the Church. No one gives up! I won’t give up! We won’t give up leading people to the healing touch of Jesus.
In the words of Maria Cataldo Cunniff, the Church opens doors to Jesus, and sometimes roofs in order to bring people to Jesus.”
We also see importance of friendship when we hear in this Gospel. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” The Gospel does not tell us anything about the faith of the paralytic. Our Lord healed the paralytic moved by the faith of the paralytic’s friends. It was their faith that touched Jesus. God honours the faith of those who help in the salvation process.
This is also a reminder of the role of Godparents who carry infants to Christ when receiving baptism. We have a responsibility to carry others to Christ, by prayer for them and by ministering to them.
By praying and showing Christ’s love to others, we too can break open roofs and bring others to Christ. God honours the faith of those who are actively concerned about bringing their friends to Christ.
So this Lent, let us ask ourselves – through and words and through our actions – are we opening doors and roofs to bring people into the Church or like the Pharisees are we rigid and turning people away? Lent is not only a calling for us to find Jesus, but to help others find Him as well.