Dec 7 2020 Reflection
Monday 7 December 2020
First Reading: IS 35:1-10
Our God will come to save us!
PS 85:9AB AND 10, 11-12, 13-14
Gospel Reading: LK 5:17-26
Today’s Note: Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing.
And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence.
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.”
Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies?
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God.
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”
He . . . went home, glorifying God. (Luke 5:25)
In a way, Advent puts us in the same spiritual position as the paralyzed man and his friends in today’s Gospel reading.
Consider what was going through their minds. When they heard that Jesus was nearby, they must have had a great longing to see him. Why else would they take such an extreme action as ripping apart a roof? They surely had faith that Jesus could heal, and so they put forth a great effort to bring their friend to him. Then, when they finally encountered Jesus and his power to heal, they all left with resounding joy in their hearts.
Longing. Faith. Effort. Joy. Doesn’t this make for a promising pattern for us this Advent? Like the men in this story, we all long to see Jesus. We long to experience his presence and receive his healing. Everyone has this longing, even those who can’t quite put words to their desires. That’s because we were made for Christ, and, as St. Augustine says, our hearts will be restless until they rest in Jesus.
When that longing arises in us, our best answer is to meet it with the faith that these men had. It’s the faith that believes that Jesus really does love us and wants nothing but good for us. It’s the faith that believes that Jesus can even bend the laws of nature to bring his healing love to our hearts.
Hearing that the Lord is near to us during Advent can stir up our longing for Jesus, and that can spur us to take action. The effort these men took to bring their friend to Jesus can inspire us to go out of our way to look for Jesus: through extra prayer, perhaps, or by spending a little more time pondering the Scriptures.
But it’s not all about our longing and our action. Remember, the main goal of all of this is to come to Jesus. And Scripture shows us that all who come to Jesus with the faith of these men leave filled with joy. Their lives are changed because they have met the Son of God, whose love brought him to earth as our Savior.
So feel that longing. Acknowledge your faith. Make an extra effort to come to Jesus. Do this, and your heart will rejoice!
“Jesus, help me ‘break open the roof’ of my heart this Advent so that I can meet you.”