Thursday 13th Week of the Year
When Jesus tells a paralytic to have courage, he’s inviting him to walk with him in newness of life.
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
“Courage, child ” speaks how Jesus sees this man.
Jesus is about to do something
that is going to set the paralytic free.
Who knows how many years this man’s paralysis
has spoiled his heart to do anything for himself?
How many years have people been waiting on him
for every little thing?
Not only his legs were numb and paralytic,
but probably his heart was too.
Jesus sees this as a much bigger handicap
than his inability to walk or even stand up.
It will take courage for him to turn around
and see himself as a child of God
who can now serve others as people served him.
St. Matthew is teaching us in this story
how sin can keep us from turning to God
and even asking for help.
Sometimes it’s just easier
to pout or complain
about everything and everybody.
“Courage, child,” is saying
‘you don’t have to live like this anymore.’
Perhaps we know someone who has given up
on God or the Church altogether.
It may be some past hurt, a sinful pattern,
an unfulfilled longing or maybe just a lack of interest
that made their faith so lame
they don’t know how to turn to God anymore.
Jesus is waiting for us
to put them on the stretcher
of our compassion and understanding.
When we listen to them with empathy,
we are carrying them to Jesus.
As it only takes the size of a mustard seed
to move the biggest mountain,
so it takes just a little ounce of faith and compassion
to break down the hostility in a lame heart.
Each kind word, each prayer,
each longing in our heart for them to believe
is another step that brings them closer to Jesus.
Take courage because sometimes
we have to keep walking to Jesus caring that stretcher.
One day they will hear these words of mercy
that heal the lameness
that keeps them from turning to Jesus with faith –
“Your sins are forgiven.
Get up and walk in the way of the Lord.”
When Jesus tells a paralytic to have courage,
he’s inviting him to walk with him in newness of life.