By Fr. Chris Ballard
In the Gospel of Mark 2:1-12, we read a very moving story where some friends want Jesus to heal their paralyzed friend, but they cannot get close enough to him because of the crowd surrounding the house. It says: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, ‘Child, your sins are forgiven.” The scribes, in typical fashion, challenge Jesus. “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.” Jesus challenges them back and says, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth, I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
The interesting thing about the scene is that it is the faith of the friends that Jesus notices. They facilitated that encounter for their friend. They brought their friend to the Lord.
Fast-forward 2000 years. There is a church in Capernaum built over the ruins of a house. In the sanctuary, part of the floor is made of glass and one can see into this house which, since early Christian times, has been revered as the site of the scene from Mark’s Gospel. Looking down, through the roof, one realizes that we are supposed to be like those friends. The Church is supposed to be like those friends. We need to be facilitators of others’ encounter with Jesus. We can help lower others down to meet the Lord.
If you are discerning priesthood, this is especially essential. As a priest, how we are will either help or hinder others’ encounter with the Lord. Do we greet others with joy? Do we show compassion and mercy to others? Do we practice what we preach? Are we friends with the Lord?
May we bring others to meet the Lord so that he can do his work in their hearts and souls.