13th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday

In today’s Gospel we’re reminded that sometimes we get stuck in life, or see our friends stuck, and no one can go it alone. How many times have we helped our friends or been helped by them in one of those moments? In today’s Gospel the paralytic is stuck both physically and spiritually. Sin drains us and paralyzes us to the point that we can’t get out of it alone. One of the saddest things of being a sinner is that sense of being alone and helpless. As believers, following Christ’s example, we try to help everyone who is stuck in life, especially our friends, but also by being a friend to the friendless when they really need someone. Sin also isolates, and sometimes the sinners themselves try to isolate themselves from others, but they can only get so far before they get stuck.

Jesus teaches us today to bring them to him, because he’s the only friend who can help us definitively get unstuck. The scribes and the crowds couldn’t believe that a man could be an instrument of forgiveness, since God alone forgives sins. They didn’t know yet that Jesus was God, but he himself in referring to himself as the Son of Man alludes to what we experience today in priests and bishops as ministers of the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick: God has given them the authority to spiritually heal on his behalf and as his istruments. Through these sacred ministers the sick and sinners are brought to Jesus to receive healing, spiritual, physical, or both, and the grace to face their trials in faith and trust.

If you’re struggling with illness, spiritual or physical, seek out Our Lord in the sacraments and don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help. If you’re blessed with good spiritual health, ask Our Lord to be that friend with the tact, prudence, and wisdom to bring those paralytics in you life to him.

Readings: Genesis 22:1b–19; Psalm 115:1–6, 8–9; Matthew 9:1–8.