Life then Limb – Friday, 1st Week in Ordinary time – Mark 2:1-12
The narrative of Peter’s mother-in-law ended with the whole city gathering at the door of their house (Mark 1:33). In today’s Gospel, Jesus has returned to Capernaum, returning to his de-facto home. Jesus had made Simons home his headquarters in Galilee. Once again, everyone has gathered in front of the door of Simon’s house (2:2) and Jesus we are told, was speaking the word to them
It is true that the world is attracted by miracles and the spectacular but miracles were the byproduct of Jesus’ principle ministry. We are told in today’s narrative that the crowd had gathered at his home where he was ‘speaking THE WORD to them.’ Earlier in Mark 1:39 we are told, ‘ he went throughout Galilee proclaiming THE MESSAGE in the synagogue.’ And in !:38 in response to the phenomenon he has become as a healer Jesus says to Peter, “Let us go to the neighbouring towns so that I may proclaim THE MESSAGE.”
While this miracle narrative may have many reflections (and I have reflected on them in the article mentioned above with the link) I want to focus on the principle ministry of Jesus and that is proclaiming the word or message. We are told in Mark’s Gospel that Jesu taught with authority unlike the scribes (1:22) and it is this teaching ministry of Jesus that should not be overshadowed by a wicked generation that seeks a sign (Matthew 12:39 and 16:4).
When you look at the narrative of the paralytic lowered from the roof by four men, Jesus was in the midst of a teaching. He was doing what he came to do, to preach the word. The contents of that teaching are not mentioned by St Mark but what follows next is not merely a miracle but a continuation of Jesus message and proclamation.
The Gospel does not mention that the four men asked for a healing for the paralytic. Their actions, dramatic as they were, spoke of their desperation for one. Jesus sees the faith of the four men and the soul of the paralytic. His life was in need of a spiritual healing before his limbs could be restored. Perhaps for a few minutes the four men’s heart sank when Jesus said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” They were expecting their friend to be told to walk. Jesus first pronounced a healing of the soul before he healed the body. This is principle to the message of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark; Jesus came to defeat the evil one who has taken over our souls.