Real Friendship

Mark’s Gospel tells us of the story of a paralyzed man who was healed. More importantly, the man was first forgiven of his sins. “They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 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. Rise, pick up your mat, and walk.’” (NAB, MK 2:3-5, 9)

Jesus consistently demonstrated his authority and power to forgive sins through the various miracles and healings he performed. Oftentimes, those occasions involved individuals, but the healing of this paralytic would not have happened were it not for his friends. It was the faith of this paralyzed man and his friends which moved Jesus to mercy and compassion: “Jesus saw their faith.” (2:5) He was paralyzed, but not helpless, not alone. It was his weakness and powerlessness that presented the opportunity for his friends to demonstrate the strength of their faith, by which Jesus exhibited his power of healing and forgiveness. It is truly in our weakness where strength abounds.

The paralytic’s friends took him to Jesus. They recognized their friend’s needs, and out of their love for him and their faith in Jesus, they demonstrated their commitment and fraternal love by seeking the Lord. What kind of friends do we have? Do they bring us closer to Jesus? Do they share a faith that calls us to a deeper conversion to and love of the Lord? And perhaps more importantly, what kind of friend are we? Do we draw others to Christ? Does our faith compel us to help others in bringing their problems to Jesus, the Healer and Forgiver? Do our lives lead others to the Lord?

Jesus, my all-loving, merciful, forgiving, and healing Lord, may I seek you in all things. You made me, not to be alone, but rather, to live in community, as a brother or sister, and as a friend to others. May I be a true friend, by bringing others to you and by drawing them closer and leading them in faith and love to receive your healing, forgiveness, and mercy. Amen.

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