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 recounts this miracle while Jesus is surrounded by Pharisees and teachers of the law. The evangelist immediately notes that "the power of the Lord was with him to heal," that is, his mercy was revealing its power to change, to heal, and to create a festival among those who were healed and their friends. And this causes more than a few questions and concerns from those who trust in the law and the observance of rules as the paradigm of salvation. The healing of the paralyzed man brought before Jesus by his friends is fruit of their faith. The miracle comes about because of the faith of those friends: a faith made of love, tenacity, and perseverance. They wanted to bring their sick friend to Jesus, and when they see the crowd milling about the door, they open a hole in the roof in order to bring their friend to him. How much do we have to learn from their attitude! Often the friendship between us is superficial, sentimental, and resigned. And it only takes a little for us to forget each other. The friends of this paralyzed man did not act like this. Their example inspires us to care for everyone who is sick, poor, and defenceless with tenacity, perseverance, and love. We need to create an alliance of affection between the disciples and the poor, between the disciples and the sick. This particular alliance enables miracles to be performed. The Gospel teaches us that miracles begin when we put the sick at the centre, a centre that is not just physical, but of the heart. Seeing this faith, Jesus fully heals the paralyzed man, more than they had expected. Turning to the sick man, Jesus says, "Your sins are forgiven." Jesus sees also the heart of the paralyzed man and his need to be forgiven. And he gives him full health, in both body and heart. As believers, we need to continue to do in our time the same thing that this group of friends did for their paralyzed friend. It is beautiful to be able to say that Christians are the friends of the poor, the sick, and the weak. This is the beginning of a change in the world, the one Jesus came to establish on earth.