I could relate tothe paralytic in today’s Gospel reading. I attended mass today with my left ankle in a cast–having fractured it in a slipping-while-jogging incident the previous Monday.
Why bother going to mass so soon after such an injury–and on crutches, yet? Isn’t that a little show-offy?
First of all, for such an ugly injury as I had, there’s been very little pain associated with it. That’s been a blessing. Why not go to mass and thank God for that tender mercy?
Besides, if I hadn’t gone I would have missed some neat connections to my little adventure. In today’s first reading from Isaiah, God says “The people I formed for myself, that they might announce my praise. Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob, for you grew weary of me, O Israel.” In my private prayers after the accident I called on him to give me strength through this injury.
But we shouldn’t wait for afflictions to call upon him. By going to mass every Sunday we collectively show God we don’t take him for granted and we sing his praise in thanks for his blessings.
To be sure, there’s nothing we can do to be worthy of God’s blessings, but the least we can do is be faithful. By keeping his day holy with our presence at Mass, we not only thank him but act as his instrument to inspire others to be faithful. In the second reading, Paul writes “The one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us is God; he has also put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.” We make that Spirit tangible through our collective presence at mass.
But stuff happens. There are times when getting to mass is an inconvenience, right?
Today’s Gospel from Mark is a good answer to that. “Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”
The paralytic and his friends wanted healing, as we all should. We’re all broken in some way. But we don’t have to go to the extremes they did to get an audience with Jesus. There’s a perfectly good doorway into our church; actually, there are three or four of them we can use to get in. No tools required. Except for some crutches once in a while.