Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24-25; Psalm 41:2-5, 13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22; Mark 2:1-12)
Journeying together as Brothers and Sisters in Christ
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)
Did you catch that? Jesus forgave this man and healed his paralysis because he saw the faith of his friends! It wasn’t the paralyzed man’s faith that moved him, it was his friends’ faith. These four men stood with their friend and were convinced that if they could just get him to Jesus, he could be healed. Even if it meant tearing up the roof, they loved their friend enough—and they believed in Jesus enough—to do it.
What a moving illustration of true brotherhood! While the paralyzed man doubtless had faith himself, it was his four friends who actually got him to Jesus. If it weren’t for them, he would never have been able to walk—or known Jesus’ forgiveness.
Jesus never intended the Christian life to be a solitary journey. On the contrary, we are stronger when we are surrounded and supported by brothers and sisters in the faith. Where the world tells us to be independent and self-reliant, Jesus tells us to lean on each other—and to let others lean on us. That’s probably why he sent his disciples to preach two by two. He knew they needed to balance each other out, with one helping the other in moments of weakness or tiredness. He knew they needed each other so that they would not fall to temptations of pride, or give up in the face of opposition or hardship.
What about you? Do you have brothers and sisters to help bring you to Jesus? Are there people whom you would go out of your way to help in their faith? It’s always a good idea to reach out to one or two people in your parish and try to build a friendship with them based on your faith. God wants to give us companions along the way. May we all be open to so generous a gift, the gift of one another.
“Thank you, Lord, for the gift of friendship! You promised that you would be with us always. What a treasure that you fulfill that promise through faithful friends!”
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading, God offers a fresh start and something completely new to the Israelites in exile. How would you describe the new things has God done in the Church, and among individual Catholics, in say the past 50 years? Do you see any new works or moves of God in the Church right now? How have these moves of God effected your own faith and your relationship with Christ, e.g., has it deepened it?
- In the Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 41:2), we hear these words: “Blessed is the one who has regard for the lowly and the poor.” Why do you think, as the psalmist proclaims, this “regard” brings deliverance, blessing, protection, healing, and forgiveness from the Lord?
- In the second reading (2 Corinthians 1:20), we hear these words: “For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the “Amen” from us also goes through him to God for glory.” What are some of the promises of God in this Sunday’s Mass readings? Does your level of belief and faith in these promises of God, and others, impact how you live out your life? In What way?
- In the Gospel reading, we hear these words, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Child, your sins are forgiven.’” Then he goes on to say, “I say to you, rise, pickup your mat, and go home.” It is the faith and persistence of the paralytic’s friends that moves Jesus to action, not simply the man’s plight. Why do you think their faith had such an impact on Jesus? How does the message of this story apply to your own life?
- In the meditation, we hear these challenging words: “Jesus never intended the Christian life to be a solitary journey. On the contrary, we are stronger when we are surrounded and supported by brothers and sisters in the faith.” Do you believe you need the support of other brothers and sisters in Christ to live out your Christian call? Why or why not? How have you been helped in your own journey by the prayers and support of other Christians?
- Take some time now to pray and thank the Lord for the Christian friends who have supported you, and for the grace to be friends to those who need your support. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.