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Posts Tagged ‘Sunday Gospel Sermon

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

    What do you usually give as a reason or justification when you failed to pray, when you are unable to pray? Chances are, the reason you give are: “I am busy,” ‘I have to time to pray,” “I have a lot of commitments,” “I am preoccupied with many things.” Sometimes we have the arrogance to justify ourselves by saying, “My work, service, apostolate, or ministry is my prayer.”  And the worst of all, we have the guts to say, “I am self-sufficient, what for?”

    If there is any person who has the absolute right to say “I’m busy” it is no other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The gospel reports some incidents when the Lord could not even eat, drink and rest because he has to minister to the needs of the hungry, sick, handicapped, demoniacs, sinners, restless and the overburdened. If there is any person who has all the right to say “I am self-sufficient,” it is no other than Lord. As John the Evangelist writes, He possesses the fullness of grace and truth. Paul writes too that in Jesus the fullness of Divinity dwells.

    But look, throughout the gospel, Jesus has been portrayed as a “man of prayer.” His life is characterized as a “life spent in solitude, prayer, friendship, and intimacy with God the Father” despite the demands and pressures of life.

    As Ezra Taft Benzon beautifully puts it:

    “[Jesus] communed constantly with his Father through prayer. This he did not only to learn the will of his Father but also to obtain the strength to do his Father’s will. He fasted and prayed forty days and forty nights at the beginning of his ministry. (“Matt. 4:2Matthew 4:2; “Mark 1:13Mark 1:13; “Luke 4:2Luke 4:2.) He prayed all night just before choosing his twelve apostles. (“Luke 6:12″Luke 6:13Luke 6:12-13.) He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. (“Matt. 26:39Matthew 26:39.) It would seem that during his earthly ministry he never made a major decision or met a crisis without praying.” (Come unto Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 44.)

    Being followers of Jesus who is the Way, Truth and Life, let us always find a place and time where we could could spent our life in intimate conversation, intimacy and friendship with God. When we are afflicted with sickness and disability, let us never doubt the presence and the power of Jesus to help and save us. When we are confronted with dilemmas, crises, trials and difficulties let us never hesitate to approach Jesus in prayer for healing, reconciliation, deliverance, enlightenment, strength, consolation and perseverance.

    Picture: http://www.funny-games.biz/images/pictures/748-pray-every-night.jpg

    Useful Articles:

    January 25, 2009
    Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul
    Mk 16:15-18

    Today we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. This is given special importance this Sunday since it coincides with our celebration of the Bi-millennium of the  Apostle’s  birth. Paul, also known as Saul, was born in Tarsus in the early first century A.D. Saul was not a sinner who got converted. He was a faithful Jew, a Pharisee, a true disciple of the Law and to defend the faith he persecuted the  early followers of the Way (Christian).

    It was only when he encountered Jesus on his way to Damascus that Paul was totally changed. After his personal encounter with Jesus who identified himself with the Christians whom he persecuted Paul was never been the same. He was converted into Christianity.  He became an Apostle of Jesus Christ and particularly, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Although he was not one among the original Twelve Apostles, St. Paul was conscious of what is ‘to be an apostle by vocation’ – i.e, not by self-choice and neither by human appointment, but rather exclusively by one’s calling and divine election (Pope Benedict XVI). With apostolic zeal, he faced the challenges of travel, cultures, imprisonment, and beatings; of shipwrecks and sleepless nights, of magic and philosophies. At the end, St. Paul he gave his life as a last and lasting witness to his deep and living faith in Jesus and his Body, the Church.

    St. Paul in his Letter to Timothy once spoke about the universality of salvation when he wrote: “God wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:3-4). What does universality of salvation mean? What is its implication? The late Pope John Paul II addressed these two questions when he wrote:   “The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all it must be made concretely available to all” (RM 9).

    This explains why Jesus started his public ministry not only by calling his disciples to repentance, baptism and faith but also by calling and choosing group of disciples to be with him whom he named apostles so that later on he cound send them on a mission. What mission? Mission to evangelize. Mission to proclaim Jesus and his message of salvation. Mission to build and spread the Church. Mission to spread the reign of God here on earth until it is perfected in the Kingdom of heaven. Mission to teach, to sanctify, to govern and lead the  people to God, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, and the  Origin and our Destiny.

    As we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul and the Bi-millennium of the Apostle’s birth, we are reminded of the mission entrusted by Christ to the Church, to the Apostles, to the Baptized and to all members of Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church. In fact, the universal missionary task involves not only these chosen members of the Church, but all the baptized, each according to his or her individual vocation. “No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples” (Redemptoris missio, n. 3). By evangelizing the nations, the Church fulfills her own vocation, because she exists in order to evangelize (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14).

    The Lord’s call to proclaim the Good News is still valid today: indeed it is ever more urgent. The call to mission acquires a singular urgency, particularly if we look at that part of humanity which still does not know Christ or recognize Him. Like Paul, we are cursed if we do not preach the Gospel. Proclaim, therefore, Christ and his Gospel in season and out of season!   [Pope John Paul II, 75th Anniversary of the World Mission Sunday]

    Picture: Wikipedia

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