1 March 2015

posted 27 Feb 2015, 07:07 by C S Paul

1 March 2015

Scripture reading and Sermon

Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Third Sunday of Great Lent (Paralytic/Palsy Sunday)

Scripture Reading for this Sunday

Gospel Reading - Mark 2:1-12King James Version (KJV)

And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?

10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

Devotional Thoughts for the Third Sunday of Great Lent

by Rev. Fr. Laby George Panackamattom

The third Sunday of the Great Lent is the Sunday of the sick. On this day, we meditate on the readings from the Gospel of St. Mark 2:1-12, Jesus healing the paralytic man with His divine words. From the Gospel we read that this miracle happened in Capernaum, at a home crowded with the people who came to hear Jesus. This was the time when Jesus was becoming very popular in that region, because as soon as the people knew about Jesus at that home, they crowded around him. As we go down through the miracle many theological insights come up from the passage.

The paralytic man remains as a passive character until the miracle happens, but still he speaks through the other characters from the miracle. Paralysis is a fatal state of the physique. The body is very weak, unable to move even a little bit, and in no way can provide any help to even someone who wants to help the paralytic. Lack of coordination between the nervous system and the muscles makes the person to be in a state of arrest. In spite of the weakness of the body, the person may have a healthy mind, but may not be able to express himself by any means. However, here Jesus completely heals the paralytic man. We should carefully go through the situation, which lead to the miracle.

1. To be in the right company:

In this miracle, the four great friends were a real blessing for the paralytic man. These friends turned out to be the reason for this miracle. We do not know if the paralytic man was once healthy and was a close friend of these four people, or if these four men were relatives or close friends of the family to which the paralytic man belonged. Anyway, he was blessed to have the help of four good people who believed in Jesus. To be in the right company is an amazing blessing for anyone in their life. If we have good friends, to share our problems and help us deal with them in the right sense, it is a great comfort we can have at times of distress. At the same time, wrong choices in our friends may ruin our lives. Let us make our choices in the light of Christian values and never compromise with them. Heavenly blessings will follow every instance of our life.

2. To be in unity for the right cause:

The four people in this miracle shared the same spirit. When they approached the house where Jesus was, nobody was willing to make way for the paralytic man. The crowds were neither concerned, nor sympathetic towards the sick man. The people did not want to miss listening to Jesus nor wanted anyone to get closer to him than them. Giving chance to the needy to get closer to Jesus is as important as being close to Jesus. Irrespective of the circumstances, the four men were determined, and were not ready to step back. None of them had any differences in their ultimate goal. They were willing to take any hardship for their cause. Removing the roof of the house and slowly letting the paralytic man down with his bed needed a lot of coordination and care. Sharing the same spirit and determination and uncompromising attitude towards their goal made that miracle happen. If we unite for any right cause, share the same spirit, and determination, God will bless us with His miracle.

3. To be extremely sincere in deeds:

After Jesus heals the paralytic man, we do not see any mention about the four men in the gospel. It makes it clear that, they were either not in the picture after the miracle or did not want to be in the picture after the paralytic man was healed. With extreme joy and hearts full of gratitude, they might have walked out with the man who was healed. We do not see them in the gospel after the miracle. They did not wait there to be appreciated by anyone nor did they make any claims for being the reason for the miracle. They only wanted Jesus to heal the paralytic man and nothing else. This act of the four men points us to evaluate our deeds.

Many a times, we become weak and make claims to be the reason for good things that happen in our presence, sometimes even without any of our participation. Many of us become so weak to pretend greatness in our gestures even when we are aware about our limitations in our inner hearts. It is there we lose our sincerity, genuineness, and transparency in life.