NO ONE IN NEED (Part 5): SPIRITUAL AND SOCIAL

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

NO ONE IN NEED

(Part 5)

SPIRITUAL AND SOCIAL

 

January 17, 2014

Today’s gospel: Mark 2:1-12

 

 

Who are the poor? They are those who are the least, the lost, the outcasts, the deprived. In today’s gospel, it is the paralytic.

Many came to hear Jesus preach, and “they came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.” (v.3). They were quite resourceful. Because “many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door” (v.2a), and “unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.” (v.4).

Given Jesus’ reputation, they expected him to heal the paralytic. What did Jesus do? “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Child, your sins are forgiven.’” (v.5). Even more important than physical healing was spiritual healing. Even more important than human liberation is salvation. In fact, to be healed of paralysis but still to be paralyzed by sin, fear, blindness to truth, prejudice, hatred, hopelessness, despair, etc., is not to speak of true liberation. Social action without spiritual transformation is not what God intends.

Now the good news is about salvation in Jesus. But salvation includes liberation. God touches both the soul and the body. It is both-and, not either-or. And so Jesus also “said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.’” (v.11). To the paralytics of today, when they come to faith in him, Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven” and “rise, pick up your mat and walk” (v.9).

This is awesome good news. When people saw the power of God at work, “they were all astounded and glorified God” (v.12b). Through the work of Jesus in and through us, may many be awed, touched in a deep way, and end up giving praise and glory to God.

 

*     *     *