Sunday, December 05, 2010

Those with a Journey to Make

December 6, 2010
Monday of the Second Week of Advent

A highway will be there, called the holy way; No one unclean may pass over it, nor fools go astray on it. No lion will be there, nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it. It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk. Isaiah 35:8-9

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the man 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.” Luke 5:24-26

What about this encounter causes you to be in awe of the power of Jesus? Is it the miracle that he accomplished or the challenge that he issued in his words and deeds to the Pharisees and the status quo? Is it the active faith of the friends or the consent of the paralyzed man to go along with his companions? What is your stretcher that has you laid back instead of on your toes helping others help themselves? Our piety is the awe of the crowd that witnessed incredible things today. But our piety also is the willingness to ignore all obstacles and pursue Jesus with singular conviction.

After he was healed, the paralyzed man set out on the Holy Highway prophesized in Isaiah singing the glory of God. We hear nothing about either the paralyzed man’s attitude or his faith before the miracle. We know that the friends would go to any length to get their companion in front of the Lord for a true encounter. On Cursillo, we call that sponsorship.

What was going through his mind? Jesus is not concerned with that. Instead, he is concerned with what is on the minds and hearts of the doubting Pharisees and teachers of the law. Jesus shocks them with his comments about forgiving sins. Yet a close reading of Isaiah reveals that the Holy Highway is only open to those who are redeemed.

Who are you in this story?

Are you the friends who are caring for the paralyzed man and take action to get him healed?

Are you the paralyzed man, at the mercy of your friends to get you there and negotiate your way through the crowd? Like Zacchaeus perched up in his tree, the friends made sure the paralyzed man was high enough to rise above the crowd and into the line of sight of his Savior and Healer. Like Zacchaeus, the paralyzed man was changed by his Encounter with Christ.

Are you like the skeptical Pharisees and lawyers watching the scene unfold from afar? Removed and detached, their own attitudes are the hurdle that they must clear in order to have a real encounter and conversion experience.

Jesus wants all of us to be active participants in the mystery. What paralyzes you from getting closer into a right relationship with Jesus? Who is there to help you overcome the obstacles in your path? How will the experience of being a witness to the miracle of God’s presence in the world change you?