Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbot

Imagine yourself as paralyzed from the neck down: what a profound powerlessness.  We all have places in our lives in which we are paralyzed in some way.  For example, perhaps we are bound by some fear or a seeming inability to forgive.  We also know the places in others’ lives in which they are paralyzed.  I recently spoke with a friend who is feeling paralyzed by a prolonged inability to conceive a first child.  Today’s Scripture gives us a vivid image of Jesus encountering “a paralytic carried by four men.” They go to such lengths as to dismantle the roof of the building in order to lower him on his mat to the feet of Jesus.

Here is a representation of our ecclesial reality: we intercede for one another before God, in prayer and in service.  We gain strength from one another’s prayers.  No wonder Pope Francis is always asking for people’s prayers!  I also ask the readers of this reflection to join me in praying for the couple I mentioned, that if it is God’s will, they might receive the baby they so desire.  Who carries you to Jesus?  Whom do you help carry to Jesus?  Each day, let us actively remember and ask God for the needs of those for whom we care and for all those in the world who are suffering, at-risk, and forgotten.

January 17th, 2014