Shared Responsibility

January 17, 2020

Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:1-12)

Today’s gospel reading offers some insight into the shared responsibility to pray. Jesus was traveling from town to town, preaching to all and healing the afflicted. A paralyzed man wanted desperately to be in the presence of Jesus. He was confident that simply being in the presence of Jesus would cure him and allow him to walk again. However, the crowd was too big and the paralyzed man could not get close enough. Others interceded on his behalf. They carried his stretcher, made their way through the crowd, and brought him to where Jesus stood.

The words of the gospel that appeared just before Jesus healed the paralyzed man resonated with me: “When Jesus saw their faith…”

The paralyzed man had great faith. He believed Jesus could heal him. He also believed that there was strength in numbers. He knew he couldn’t do it alone, so he called upon others to help. A pivotal part of the story – the others responded. They, too, believed. They made it possible for the paralyzed man to reach Jesus.

It was their faith Jesus saw – that of the paralyzed man and those who carried the stretcher.

Next time someone asks you to pray for him or for someone close to him who is suffering, set aside the thought that your intercession is not good enough. Picture yourself carrying the stretcher. Think of yourself as one of the people making it possible for that person to be in the presence of Jesus.

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