Memory of the Poor

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 5, 17-26

Now it happened that he was teaching one day, and Pharisees and teachers of the Law, who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and from Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was there so that he should heal.

And now some men appeared, bringing on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him.

But as they could find no way of getting the man through the crowd, they went up onto the top of the house and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus.

Seeing their faith he said, 'My friend, your sins are forgiven you.'

The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. 'Who is this man, talking blasphemy? Who but God alone can forgive sins?'

But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made them this reply, 'What are these thoughts you have in your hearts?

Which of these is easier: to say, "Your sins are forgiven you," or to say, "Get up and walk"?

But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins,' -- he said to the paralysed man-'I order you: get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.'

And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God.

They were all astounded and praised God and were filled with awe, saying, 'We have seen strange things today.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke writes, “When he saw their faith,” Jesus healed the paralytic. This miracle was made possible by the faith of these friends; their faith is one of love, tenacity, perseverance and even cleverness. They wanted to carry their sick friend to Jesus’ house, and when they saw the crowd of people packed around his door, they went up and took the roof off of the house in order to be able to put their friend in front of Jesus. We have so much to learn from their attitude! Friendship between us can often be empty and superficial. It only takes something little for us to forget one another. We are so concentrated on ourselves that we make others less of a priority. Yet, the friends of this paralytic did not do this. Let us ponder on this story, for it exhorts us to take care attentively of anyone who is sick, poor, and defenceless. It is about overcoming our concentration on ourselves and instead creating a sort of alliance between the disciples and the poor, between the disciples and the sick. This particular kind of alliance enables these miracles to come forth. A miracle, in fact, comes about when we put the sick at the centre, instead of our egos. Both the physical and the heart are placed in the centre. It is not only the physical centre, but also of the heart. Seeing the faith of these friends and how great their love for the paralytic was, Jesus heals their friend in a very full way, much more than they had expected. Turning to the sick man, Jesus says to him, “Your sins are forgiven.” None of those present had asked for that. At the most, they wanted their friend to be healed; the Pharisees themselves had expected only that, obviously not because they had any love for the paralytic, but because they wanted to discredit Jesus. But Jesus not only sees the paralytic’s body, he sees his heart, the need he also has to be forgiven, welcomed, and loved. Jesus gives him both the health of body and of the heart. This is a full healing, like that which Isaiah saw in a vision and had been announced to the people of Israel (35:1-10). We, too, are called to take part in God’s extraordinary design and to bring into the world love and peace. Indeed the words that Jesus said to the “Tempter” could be transformed into: “Not only of bread does human beings live, but also of love.” As believers, we ought to practice in our day that which this group of friends did for their paralytic friend. It is beautiful to say that Christians are the friends of the poor, the sick, and the weak. Friendship with them brings us to pray for the sick. Indeed, our prayer is a way to bring before the Lord all sick people, those who are physically close to us, and those distant that love makes close to us, and, through our prayer, close to the Lord.