Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time B: Reflections by Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
Readings: Isa 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25; Ps 41:2-5, 13-14; 2 Cor 1:18-22 and Mark 2:1-12
Bringing Christ’s Healing Touch to the World
In the last few Sundays we saw Jesus consistently doing good, healing people, including the illness of Simon’s mother-in-law. He went on to heal the lepers in Mark 1:40-45. Today Christ the new Prophets continues to forgive sin, to love and show comfort. Particularly he heals, forgives and wipes out the offenses of the paralytic brought to him by four men (Mk 2:1-12) at Capernuam.
We have so much to learn spiritually and pastorally from this healing gathering in Capernaum as well as from the liberating journeys of Israel from the dryness and paralyses of exile we have heard in the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah.
When Isaiah says today, “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago, consider not, see I am doing something new,” What is God telling Israel/ us through Isaiah? I want to believe that is all about God’s saving role in the life of Israel; God’s role in liberating Israel from the Egypt, the wilderness experience, the journeys through that desert which was fundamental to the existence of Israel.
Even after the liberating hardship from the desert’s journeys they found themselves again in the wilderness of exile in Babylon. Though liberated from exile how to get home became a problem as well. It was frightening. They needed words of comfort from Isaiah. It is sometimes hard for us to appreciate what a scary prospect this journey from Babylon to Israel must have been for them especially for the young ones who were born in Exile, Babylon would have been the only home they knew. We are talking about more than 900 miles on foot from Babylon to Israel on a stony dusty road. This will take months and months. But God was on their side wiping away their sins and guiding them throughout their dangerous journeys from Babylon to Israel.
The dangers and the hardship of exile can be compared with dangers of illnesses, paralysis and even the dangers of sins that put a barrier between us, God and our neighbors. The Four friends of the paralytic knew that Jesus was there in Capernaum. Most of them also thought that being bed-ridden were as a result of sin (Jn 9:2). They also had knew with faith that it was Jesus alone who could heal and at the same time forgive sins.
It must have been heavy to carry this man on the stretcher. Plus their faith, the unroofed the roof to make sure the sick man was brought to receive healing and forgiveness from Jesus. When Jesus saw the faith of the four friends he forgave the paralytic and cured him body and soul.
What a moving healing scene. Our Christian faith is not just reasoning but living. Faith has no boundary it can break through all kinds of barriers, including that of hatred to love, exclusiveness to inclusiveness. With faith we can also help our spouse, friend, brother, sister, parents and children to see the beauty of the forgiving power of God in the sacrament of reconciliation and in union with Christ in other Sacraments.
The four faith-filled friends who carried this stretcher represent who we are called to be, namely our brothers and sisters keepers. We are call to recognize how dependent we are on one another, and to assist one another in different areas of lives, seeking peace, justice, and working for the common good. We are call to offer good suggestions to our needy friends in our different professional circumstances; in the church narthex, hospitals, schools, offices, and homes.
And may the healing touch of Christ upon us today enable us to bring Christ’s forgiving and loving presence to the rest of the world.
Peace be with you!