The 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time at St Mark Church
February 23, 2003
Isaiah 43:18-22 + 2 Corinthians 1:18-22 + Mark 2:1-12
When the crowd clears and the dust settles, there is nothing left here but a hole in the roof angry scribes have slipped off soon to confront this man from Nazareth for his blasphemies. Jesus has also slipped away from the mob and goes looking for disciples. The owner of the house is probably having second thoughts about his guest while he looks for roof repair. The crowd has gone back to whatever it is they do all day, but not quite the same. And somewhere in Capernaum there’s a party going on. Five friends are celebrating an event that has changed their lives fulfilled their fondest dreams, and confirmed the bond of their friendship.
Not simply a piece of Mark’s development of the connection between healing and forgiveness, or his unfolding of the identity of Jesus, this is also the very human story of the power of faith and friendship. The paralyzed man has lost his health, but not his friends. We are left to imagine what went on between the five of them: whose idea it was, and whose faith in Christ Jesus led them onto the roof, but we are not left to imagine the consequences. These twelve verses tell us as much about the power of friendship as the do about the power of Jesus. They speak about forgiveness; the finest gift friends can share.
Jesus enters into that friendship with them, and by his presence the very love of God is made visible through the love of these friends. Jesus does not so much DO something here, as CONFIRM something that is already at work. The relationship between reconciliation and friendship has been opened as clearly as the hole in the roof. A little while later, Jesus will address those who gather around a table with him, and he will call us “friends”. This Gospel calls us to celebrate again our friendships, reminds us that they are moments of grace and power for new levels of relationship to God, and they are in fact, sacramental; bringing us what we truly need.
The network of all our human relationships springs to life from the friendship of a husband and wife. The event Mark puts before us confirms what we have discovered again and again in our own lives: The beauty of friendship is in its power to forgive, to reconcile, and provide a sense of security and well-being. It is an experience that brings us to praise God,
to look again at how we view our church, sin, and grace; and where we find the power for reconciliation and renewal that leaves us with praise in our hearts and on our tongues.
A hole in the roof……
A mat abandoned somewhere on the way to a celebration…..
little reminders of what has happened to us and what we shall become through friendship in faith and in Christ Jesus. What we proclaim this winter day is the power of human love and human relationship that Jesus Christ has come to reveal and affirm.