The reading from the Gospel of Saint Mark reminds me of what often happens in our Church:
- As Jesus’ followers gathered around him, we are regularly coming together to listen to his word in our religious services, to having communion with him, and to be strengthened by the fellowship of believers.
- As Jesus’ followers focused on Christ, we too are attentive to his word.
- As Jesus’ followers did not see the paralytic men who wanted to be close to Jesus, we often also overlook the human suffering around us, which is in need of Christ’s healing touch.
Fortunately, the supporters of the physically impaired men in the Gospel did not give up but found a creative way to bring him to Christ’s attention. And Christ showed his divinity by forgiving him his sins and underscored his divine authority by healing the man. While the reading guides our attention to Christ’s divine powers, the reading also says something about the Church.
Within the Church, we sometimes lose sight of what is going on around us and we forget that it is our mission to be witnesses of the Good News. Instead, we sometimes overlook the human suffering around us. We forget Christ’s preferential option for the marginalized and suffering. None will deny that it is important to focus on Christ and be united in faith when we gather for religious services and pray together. The reading from the letter to the Hebrews makes this very clear: “But the word that they heard did not profit them, for they were not united in faith with those who listened.” However, it is also important to put our eyes on the world around us: listening to Christ and being united in faith with each other should sharpen our eyes to see the human suffering around us, to increase our desire to alleviate it, and to commit ourselves to serve the marginalized in our society and globally.
Let us look at our world today with open eyes and an open heart for those who need our support.
By Alex Roedler