The Forgiveness and Healing of a Paralyzed Man from Luke’s Gospel (Luke 5: 17-26) are another of those passages that has a happy ending. In this version of the event, the friends of the paralyzed man carry him to where Jesus was teaching. There were Pharisees and teachers of the law with Jesus at the time. The author of Luke doesn’t share where the men came from or how far they carried their friend. They were determined to bring him to Jesus because they heard he was healing people.
The man’s friends were not daunted by the crowd. When they realized they couldn’t get through the people gathered around Jesus, they lifted their friend up and lowered him down to where Jesus was sitting. Imagine the trust the man who was paralyzed had for his friends as he was completely in their hands.
As they carried their friend to Jesus, did they silently hope that Jesus could heal him, or did they talk about what they would do as soon as he could walk again? It’s the time of the infirmity that we rush through. We may not want to consider what it would be like to be confined to a mat, relying on others for food, conversation, and activities of daily living. We want to get to that moment when Jesus makes the man who was paralyzed, whole, both spiritually and physically.
We want to turn the page in the Scriptures and his life, knowing that when he walked away, he was a different man. None of the Gospel authors share with us what happened next or what the rest of his life, and the lives of his friends, was like. What was the first thing he did with his friends? Was it something he did before he was paralyzed or did he want to try something new and different?
For a time, he was powerless to move, unable to be involved in what was going on in his world and in his life. Until Jesus told him to “get up, take your mat and go home.”
I feel as if our lives have been like that since the pandemic hit. We are not physically paralyzed. Yet we have been unable to participate in many of the activities we took for granted. We are slowly returning to life before the pandemic, possibly going to a restaurant, seeing the latest movie, or going shopping in our favorite clothing or craft store.
Our lives are being restored, not to what they once were, but to a new way of living and being in relationship with one another. We may be eager to pick up what we set aside two years ago. My hope is that during this time of quarantining and confinement we have discovered gifts and ways of helping that we can now begin to share with one another.
We are entering a time of new beginnings. There is still much uncertainty in our world. Now, more than ever, we are encouraged to have faith in our Lord who is ever-present, knowing what we need before we are even aware of it. May that faith sustain us as we learn how to march in the light of God once again. And Amen.