A tapestry with many threads (Y-not question the Sunday Readings)
Thank you Tony yet again for leading our reflection on the Sunday Gospel. Before I get onto the gospel itself, I must say I like your description of this passage as being a tapestry with many threads. In fact, largely through your weekly reflections, I am coming to appreciate that Mark's Gospel, which I had always thought of as being fairly straightforward and simple, does have quite a number of layers and different strands to it. So, I'll now follow a couple of different threads from what you did Tony, and see where they take us.
One thing which really strikes me about this story, as with the gospels of the last two weeks, is how Jesus responds to the needs of people as he encounters them, even when he had set out to do something else. In a recent gospel, Jesus is quoted as saying that he plans to travel round the countryside preaching, as that was the reason for which he had come. Obviously, he is also fulfilling that mission in this passage, as we are told that he was in the house "speaking the word" to people. Then he is interrupted in a particularly spectacular way! But, far from being angry with the interrupters, he makes them the point of his lesson, a lesson in faith. Then we once again encounter the power of Jesus to heal, both physically and spiritually, or is it that his presence inspires people to draw on their own power to heal themselves? What's more, he challenges those who would deny humans the right to share in divine forgiveness, as Tony has so beautifully discussed. So, for me, the point here is that Jesus did NOT just follow his own plan, his own ideas of what his ministry should consist of, but instead responded to people's needs as he encountered them. Perhaps even more remarkably, he didn't just respond according to his own ideas of who was worthy of his help and what he thought they needed. Instead, Jesus allowed his ministry to be shaped primarily by the people he encountered. Alas, this is one aspect of Jesus' ministry that all too often has NOT been imitated!
Getting back to the actual healing: while I'm not altogether sure about some of the other miracles attributed to Jesus, I'm utterly convinced that the healings did actually, literally happen. This story is a particularly good example of one reason why I'm so convinced. Of course it is true that it's easy to say that you forgive a person's sins: there is no visible sign as to whether or not anything has happened, people just have to take your word for it (or not). But obviously, to physically cure someone who is known to be an invalid, that really is something that you can't fake! The point I'm making here is illustrated by the reaction of the witnesses to this miracle: "They were all amazed and glorified God." Jesus didn't expect people to just take his word for it that God loved them and desired their greatest good, he didn't expect them to have to struggle to accept God's love while their own experiences made this hard to do. Instead, he demonstrated God's love to them in a way that they could understand in a natural and totally human way. Another thing that seems to have got lost over the centuries (though with some exceptions, maybe.)
Next week, I believe, we leave ordinary time behind and get into Lent. It will be interesting to see where the Gospel reflections take us then!
I splash in my poetry puddle
and try to keep God amused. - James Broughton
- Can only God forgive sin? Sunday Readings B 7 - Ynot, 2012-02-17, 16:27
- Can only God forgive sin? Sunday Readings B 7 - Francis, 2012-02-17, 20:09
- A tapestry with many threads - CathyT, 2012-02-18, 01:43
- Can only God forgive sin? Sunday Readings B 7 - Sue, 2012-02-18, 12:34
- Can only God forgive sin? Sunday Readings B 7 - Jerome, 2012-02-18, 14:19
- Can only God forgive sin? Sunday Readings B 7 - judith, 2012-02-19, 17:34