7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

“We will look for a way.” These are fighting words. Do not give up. There is always a way. I see this spirit in a mother who accosts strangers to donate blood for her son in the hospital. I see this in a father who mortgages or sells his properties so a daughter can finish college. This expression can also have negative connotations. It could mean setting aside even ethical considerations in order to achieve one’s goals, by hook or by crook.

Action starter: Do you have a community?

In this Sunday’s Gospel, the friends of the paralyzed man were so determined for him to be healed that they did something so unexpected.. They found a way, even if it meant hauling their friend up the roof and making a hole in it, just to bring their loved one near Jesus. The owner of the house would not have been very happy at this intrusion and destruction of his roof.

The paralytic was fortunate to have these friends. They loved him very much. He could not move. He relied utterly on their loving efforts and determined action. Don’t we all wish we have friends like these? These are people who take the cudgels for us when we are down and out. They carry us when we could hardly move. They defend us in our lowest moments. They do not give up on us. They make us experience the love of God.

Paralysis can be more than just physical immobility. We can be paralyzed by fear or by discouragement. We can be paralyzed by the enormity of our problems. To be paralyzed is to feel helpless. It is not being able to move oneself even if one wants to. Physical paralysis has its counter part in emotional paralysis, when conflicting emotions keep us from making good decisions. It can be a moral paralysis, when we cannot seem to make the step towards what we know as good and right. It can be spiritual paralysis, when we it seems we are in a plateau and are stuck in our spiritual journey to godliness. There is even social paralysis when societies are caught in a pattern from which they cannot seem to escape (cycle of violence and cycle of poverty).

It is when we cannot move that somebody has to lift us up, or even push us, or simply awaken us. As a driver, I noticed that many times, people in danger of being hit by a car simply stand paralyzed in the middle of the road until somebody pulls them or pushes them to safety. We cannot really say that we are absolutely independent and self-sufficient. There will be times when we have to rely on the help of others.

We are interdependent on one another. We are challenged by the gospel to form communities where people feel they are supported and they are not alone.