Four Friends

"When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, 'Child, your sins are forgiven' " (Mark 2:8).

The Gospel stories are like rich gems, and if we hold them up to the light, we see how many facets they have. 

In today's Gospel story of the healing of the paralyzed man, we realize that he would never have gotten to Jesus without the help of four friends. When it seemed impossible that would he reach Jesus through the crowds, these friends carried him to the house, hoisted him up onto the roof, removed the tiles and lowered him into the room in front of Jesus. Jesus sees "their" faith, and this sets in motion the miracle. 

Writer Melissa Nussbaum once remarked that something important was lost when the bishops changed the wording of the Creed from "We believe" to "I believe." There are times when it is hard for us to believe individually. I am in crisis or a time of doubt. I have to be carried by the community. How reassuring it is that this is what community can do for us in our weakness. All of us need to be carried some times.  When "I" am struggling to believe, the "we" of the community embraces and carries me. 

How blessed we are if there are four friends, or family, or even one friend, who will support us in a time of paralysis. This may be all it takes to keep us on track, focused on God's love while we work through some issue that has knocked us down, made us lose faith. 

This is the joy of the Gospel.