|WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE FOUR?|
"In the midst of the crowd was a small group: a handful of men with a paralyzed friend. These un-named companions, decided to bring their buddy (also un-named) to see Christ, hoping for a miracle. Four of them were holding the paralyzed man on a stretcher, but could not break through the multitudes to get close to Jesus. So, these really nice friends climbed to the roof — with their paralyzed buddy (outside stairways were common then). The group made a hole in the roof (which was probably constructed out of wooden beams, thatching and mud) and carefully let their friend down into the house on his stretcher. Jesus was astonished at this enormous display of faith, and so, with tender affection, told them that their sins were forgiven (which really annoyed some scribes and Pharisees who were present). Jesus amazed the people even more by commanding the paralyzed man to rise and walk. Instantly, the man who had to be carried by his friends stood up and began to walk with his feet while glorifying God with his lips! These trusting men knew. They knew that Jesus was blessed and caring. And, they knew that it was worth going to great lengths to be near Him." [ by on JULY 29, 2010 on her blog http://catholicexchange.com/un-named-holy-ones-of-the-bible/]
In my mind, it is not the fact that the four men are unnamed but that they actually did something to help the man. They had faith. Their faith included the faith of the man, and the paralytic man participated in the faith of the four men. Just as Jesus participated in the healing power of the creator, the paralytic was one with his supporters.
This is a lesson about the collaborative mission of God Himself. Think of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the Prophets and Jesus Himself. Yaweh does not operate in an isolated vacuum. Jesus does not stand alone. Our God is a collaborating, communitarian, productive mutual love God. Our faith is a communitarian faith, not an absolute personal one. We have the obligation to support one another in Faith, Hope and Charity.
This obligation does not just begin with Jesus. It begins with the very early directives of Yaweh Himself. Listen to these words:
10 nor will you strip your vineyard bare, nor pick up the fallen grapes. You will leave them for the poor and the stranger. I am Yahweh your God.
11 "You will not steal, nor deal deceitfully or fraudulently with your fellow-citizen.
12 You will not swear by my name with intent to deceive and thus profane the name of your God. I am Yahweh.
13 You will not exploit or rob your fellow. You will not keep back the labourer's wage until next morning.
14 You will not curse the dumb or put an obstacle in the way of the blind, but will fear your God. I am Yahweh.
15 "You will not be unjust in administering justice. You will neither be partial to the poor nor overawed by the great, but will administer justice to your fellow-citizen justly.
16 You will not go about slandering your own family, nor will you put your neighbour's life in jeopardy. I am Yahweh.
17 You will not harbour hatred for your brother. You will reprove your fellow-countryman firmly and thus avoid burdening yourself with a sin.
18 You will not exact vengeance on, or bear any sort of grudge against, the members of your race, but will love your neighbour as yourself. I am Yahweh.
Does this sound familiar? We all remember the times when Jesus reached out to strangers and even told parables about how strangers were valuable to Him as well as the Chosen People. Remember when the emissaries of John the Baptist asked Him if He was the One for whom they were waiting? His answer was, "Go tell John that the lame walk, the blind see..." The story of the supportive community of the paralytic mentioned in the story told above is really a very up-to-the-minute, detailed example of the meaning of the Magi and further on down the books of the New Testament, the gathering of the people to hear the sermon delivered by Peter on the morning following the coming of the Holy Spirit. (Acts, chapter 2) God is the creator of us all, the Savior of us all and the Sanctifier of us all.
Brothers and sisters, this is our call. This is what it means to be a disciple of the Servant King. This is what I believe and this is what I strive to live. I won't be 100% successful, but hey, do not let that be a reason for you to cry at my funeral. Remember that Christ came to free us from death, and therefore from having to cry at funerals ... especially, mine!