18 January 2019
Be careful: the promise of reaching the place of rest that God had for the Israelites still holds good, and none of you must think that he has come too late for it. We received the Good News exactly as they did; but hearing the message did them no good because they did not share the faith of those who listened. We, however, who have faith, shall reach a place of rest, as in the text: And so, in anger, I swore that not one would reach the place of rest I had for them. God’s work was undoubtedly all finished at the beginning of the world; as one text says, referring to the seventh day: After all his work God rested on the seventh day. The text we are considering says: They shall not reach the place of rest I had for them. We must therefore do everything we can to reach this place of rest, or some of you might copy this example of disobedience and be lost.
When Jesus returned to Capernaum, word went round that he was back; and so many people collected that there was no room left, even in front of the door. He was preaching the word to them when some people came bringing him a paralytic carried by four men, but as the crowd made it impossible to get the man to him, they stripped the roof over the place where Jesus was; and when they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic lay. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some scribes were sitting there, and they thought to themselves, ‘How can this man talk like that? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God?’ Jesus, inwardly aware that this was what they were thinking, said to them, ‘Why do you have these thoughts in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven” or to say, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he turned to the paralytic – ‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.’ And the man got up, picked up his stretcher at once and walked out in front of everyone, so that they were all astounded and praised God saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’
“do everything we can to reach this place of rest”
Our faith is not meant to be a passive one. It calls us to “share the faith to those who listened.”
God rested on the seventh day, after he had completed his creation; when his work was done. Similarly, “we must do everything we can to reach this place of rest.” His plans for us were completed at the beginning of time and all He asks of us is to respond with action in obedience and faith. In the first reading, we are reminded, and even warned of the mistakes made by the Israelites least we become lost like them. We are called to act and to share our faith with those whom we come into contact with.
The parable in today’s gospel is a familiar one, it painted a picture of people crowding the room or in my imagination I see a hut perhaps; they came to see, listen, and possibly with curiosity. Many were bystanders listening to Jesus preach, however, the paralytic and the four men took action. On his own, the paralytic would not have been able to get anywhere near Jesus but these four men acted in faith and lowered the paralytic into the room to be healed by Jesus. There was no mentione if he knew these four men — were they his family, friends or strangers he met along the way to see Jesus? What matters is that it was their faith and action that made it possible for him to encounter God.
Brothers and sisters, let us all act in faith and trust that God is always looking out for us no matter how dire our situations.
(Today’s Oxygen by Lorraine Wong)
Prayer: Dear Lord, as we deepen our faith and relationship with you, help us to translate this faith into action, and be the light to others as you intended.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we look forward to the day where we can finally rest in your kingdom. Thank you for choosing us to be your stewards, and may our actions be worthy of your name.