Friday 13th January 2023. Read Hebrews 4:1-5,11, Ps. 78:3-4,6-8, Mark 2:1-12“Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk?’” (Mark 2:8-9)

There is a crisis of faith among Christians today. We claim to believe in God yet we live as if God does not exist. We go to Church to pray, we clap, we kneel, we speak in tongues, we even cry, raise our hands, and worship. But when we step out of the Church, we forget that God also gave us commandments on how to live.

Faith is always visible. St. James would say, by my works, I will show you my faith. Faith without corresponding works is dead. In today’s Gospel passage, four men brought their paralytic friend to Jesus through the roof. Mark tells us that Jesus SAW THEIR FAITH. (Mk 2:5)

Jesus also saw the faith of the scribes and Pharisees who were questioning in their hearts. They were not bold enough to speak out but Jesus could hear their thoughts. We may participate actively in the church, sing, and dance but God sees the inner thoughts going on within us. God knows whether or not we truly believe.

The failure of the scribes and Pharisees to see that God was right there in their midst despite their familiarity with the scriptures goes to prove the point of today’s first reading: “For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” (Hebrews 4:2)

You may be a scripture scholar but if you don’t believe that with God nothing is impossible, your academic degrees count for nothing. You may know the bible verse by verse from Genesis to Revelation but all that would be of no benefit to you if you lack an active faith in God. keep faith alive always.

The paralytic said nothing yet Jesus could see that his physical paralysis was child’s play compared to his spiritual paralysis. Another crisis of modern-day Christianity is that we place so much emphasis on physical healing at the expense of spiritual healing.

Lastly, our Gospel passage today calls us to reflect on the kind of friends we keep. Do you have friends that would remain loyal to helping you when you are down like the paralytic? Do you have friends that would bring you to Jesus when you are down or are your friends the types who would take you to places contrary to your Christian faith?

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, break any form of hardness in my heart. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of week 1 in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Colour: Green. Bible Study: Hebrews 4:1-5,11, Ps. 78:3-4,6-8, Mark 2:1-12).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu