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Mark 2:1-12 – The Healing of the Paralytic
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday Gospel Reflection

Today’s gospel narrates to us  the cure of the paralytic who was brought on a mat by his four friends to Jesus. Since it was physically imposible for them to approach Jesus they went to the roof, made a hole in it where they could bring the paralytic down through the rope to where the Lord was teaching. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “My son, your sins are forgiven” (v. 5). This scandalized the Pharisees for it is only God who can forgive sins ((v. 8). In order to show them that He is indeed God and a Messiah who has the power  to forgive and to heal, he said to the paralytic :  “Stand up, pick up your mat and go home” (see v. 11).

What is something unusual about this incident is that most miracle stories in the gospel occur because of the faith of the one who is helped. Such was the case of the Canaanite woman, for example, or the blind Bartimaeus. In today’s Gospel story we seem to have a miracle occurring almost independently of the man being cured. His sins are forgiven and he is cured, not  because of his faith but because of the faith of his friends and their mediation. Let this story be a constant reminder for all of us of the validity and the power of the prayer of intercession.

Along with prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, contrition, there is also another prayer that exists and is effective, That prayer is the prayer of intercession. Prayer of intercession belongs to the prayer of petition. What ‘s the slight difference between the two? Wnen we are praying for ourselves that is prayer of petition. When we are prayer for others or requesting others to pray for us that is prayer of petition.

The Church teaches in her Catechism (CCC 2634) that “Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men especially sinners (cf. Rom 8:34; 1 Jn 2:1; Tim 2:5-8). He is “able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25). The Holy Spirit “himself intercedes for us…and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” Rom 8:26-27).

In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm (Phil 2:4; cf. Acts 7:60; Lk 23:28, 34). The intercession of Christians recognized no boundaries: “for all men; for king and all who are in high positions,”  for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the gospel (1 Tim 2:1; cf. Rom 12:14; 10:1).

Indeed the prayer of intercession is valid, effective and praiseworthy.  Like Jesus, let us never fail to pray for others especially those who are in need of our prayers.  When we feel  unworthy or inadequate to pray let us request others to pray for us especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mediatrix of all graces, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother too.

Pray for peace and unity of the world, healing and reconciliation among nations, groups and individuals whose relationship is characterized by divisions and conflicts. Pray also for the conversion of sinners and for the sanctification and salvation of the whole humanity.

In particular, I exhort you to pray for the Church specially for the priests: “We are used to asking the priests to pray for us. In these trying times for them and for the Church as a whole, I am asking you to pray for them” (Lingayen-Dagupan  Archbishop Oscar Cruz).

Related Gospel Reflection:

by Fr. Jerry Orbos

    Reflection on Mark 1:44

    “It is hard for us today to imagine the awful condition of the leper in New Testament times. He was considered legally dead. But, worse, he was considered morally unclean. Forbidden to enter any walled city-lashed thirty-nine times if he did-he wandered, muffled to the eyes, crying ‘Unclean!’

    “Under Jewish law, no one could greet him. Under the law, no one could approach within six feet of the leper-one hundred feet if the wind came from his direction. Any building he entered was considered defiled and had to be purified. The common practice was to throw stones at or run and hide from any leper who approached.

    “Such was the man who came to Jesus. What compassion and greatness he must have sensed in the Master to break the law in this manner. And what was the response? Against all law and tradition, Jesus reached out and touched the leper and by His touch cleansed him of his filthiness. By His touch, to save His brother, Jesus descended lower than any man-exactly as He did, later, to save each of us.

    “We are that leper, each of us unclean in his own way  each of us is in need of recognition and acceptance and care, each of us is in need of forgiveness and reconciliation each of us crying, ‘If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.’

    Think of leprosy-the rotting flesh, the stench, the ingrained horror of physical and ritual contamination that Jesus would have learned from babyhood. Those are powerful physical and emotional barriers to overcome. Jesus not only overcame those barriers enough to be ‘moved with compassion,’ the scripture says, but he ‘put forth his hand, and touched him’ (Mark 1:40-42; italics added). This was not long-distance healing. This was close, intimate, a refusal by the Savior to accept that there was anything in human life, no matter how repulsive it may have been to other people, that he could not transform into cleanliness and wholeness by putting his hand on it.” (Disciples [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 93 – 94.)

    Pause and reflect: “For this reason, the great challenges facing the world at the present time, such as globalization, human rights abuses, unjust social structures, cannot be confronted and overcome unless attention is focused on the deepest needs of the human person: the promotion of human dignity, well-being and, in the final analysis, eternal salvation” (Pope Benedict XVI, Christ is Source of Charity)

    Useful Poem and Song:

    Be Thou Clean

    My sins were as scarlet; they were a burden to me.
    My eyes were so blinded that I could not see.
    Then I heard of Christ dying on Calvary,
    And my soul stirred to life deep inside of me.

    Chorus:
    I wondered if Jesus would have compassion on me.
    I asked Him if He was willing, and He said, “Be thou clean.”
    “Oh sinner, come unto Me. I am willing; be thou clean.”
    I asked Him if He was willing, and He said, “Be thou clean.”

    My sins, oh how many, pierced my soul like a dart!
    Foul leprosy within seemed to stain every part.
    I wondered if it was possible to make a new start,
    And then God’s gracious love came and filled my heart.

    I was like a black sheep that had wandered astray.
    I had rebelled against God and gone my own way.
    Then I, in repentance, fell on my knees to pray,
    And Christ’s precious blood washed my sins all away.

    If you are weighed down by your sin’s constant blame,
    Overwhelmed and grieved by the burden of shame,
    Take a look at the Saviour; there’s a reason He came,
    He died for your sins – hear Him calling your name.

    Poem written February 4th/2000
    Jerry Bouey


    August 2019
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