AT THE BEGINNING OF JUNE Jesus was again back in Capernaum, probably in the house of Simon and Andrew, which seems to have been His customary residence when He was in Capernaum. At this time occurred the first of a series of incidents in which the Pharisees openly opposed or disputed with Christ.
The news that Christ had returned to the city created great excitement; the street before His house was soon filled with people, while crowds filled the house itself and blocked the entrance. Pharisees and Doctors of the Law from all the villages of Galilee and Judea had come to hear Jesus, and Jerusalem also had sent its delegates.
While Jesus sat and spoke to this distinguished audience, four men came up to the house, carrying on a litter a paralytic who hoped to be cured by Jesus. When the bearers found the street entrance blocked by the crowds of curious onlookers, they climbed with the litter to the roof of the house and, having removed a number of the tiles or shingles from the roof, carefully lowered the litter through the opening, depositing the paralytic in the midst of the crowd that surrounded Jesus in the room below.
Jesus was touched by the faith of this man and of the bearers, who had gone to such pains to bring their friend before Him. He was going to heal this invalid, but first He said:
“Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.”
He said this to make clear His claim to divine power, the power to forgive sins as well as to heal those ills which the Pharisees regarded as the punishment of sin. The Pharisees then began muttering within themselves that He blasphemed, but Jesus read their minds and said:
“Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Thy sins are forgiven thee,’ or to say, ‘Arise, and take up thy pallet, and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins-I say to thee, arise, take up thy pallet, and go to thy house.”
And the sick man arose and walked off, while all present praised God for what they had witnessed.
Meditation: Each of us has a sick friend like the paralytic, although it may be paralysis of the soul rather than the body that afflicts him. He is unable, by himself, to reach Christ. Will we extend a helping hand and lead him to Christ? The common attitude is to “let the other fellow do it.” But the four friends of the paralytic did not pass the responsibility to someone else. For their friend they worked, and they succeeded. Would I do as much to bring a friend of mine to Christ?
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 41-42. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.