What to do when prayer is difficult? Go in through the roof

Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus.

~ Luke 5.18-19

It would have been so easy just to give up and carry him back home. First they had to make their way through the fringes of the gathering, where sat the scowling and skeptical members of the religious establishment. Next was the crowd itself, jostling, sharp-elbowed, chaotically pressing forward to get a glimpse of the teacher and healer. And in the center, out of reach, was Jesus Christ. “Sorry, old chap,” the paralytic’s friends might have explained, “but we can’t see a way to get through this crowd right now. We’ll come back another day when it is less of a hassle.”

But that is not what they said. Instead, fueled by the adrenaline of faith, they found another way to Christ. It could not have been easy—clambering up to remove the roof tiles, maneuvering the heavy pallet into position, carefully lowering it eis to meson, or into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. The outcome? Healing, grace and wholeness.

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In our lives, too, many obstacles block the way to the merciful and life-giving presence of Christ. There is the ambient culture that dismisses faith as the province of the weak or the simple. There is the mob of priorities that jostle for our attention. There is our own tendency to postpone praying until another day, when it will be less of a hassle.  We have a choice: we can give up, or we can ask for the faith to persevere in our efforts to place ourselves in front of Christ. The paralytic and his friends show us the way.

Loving God, Bless us with the gift of a tenacious faith that will not be gainsaid as we strive to reach you every day. Amen.

For today’s readings, click here.

You can access the complete collection of the Advent 2015 Reflection Series here.

If you would like to receive these reflections via a daily e-mail, contact Elizabeth Kirkland Cahill at [email protected]

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
William Rydberg
1 year 11 months ago
Today's reading psalm respond is "Our God will come to save us". Great material for a catholic homily...

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