July 5, 2018
by Cindy Costanzo
Creighton University's College of Nursing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 380

Amos 7:10-17
Psalms 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Matthew 9:1-8
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

How the Ordinary Time Readings Are Organized and Can Help our Prayer

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
"Courage, child, your sins are forgiven."
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
"This man is blaspheming."
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
"Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise and walk'?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins"–
he then said to the paralytic,
"Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.

I imagine what I would be thinking and feeling had I been a bystander watching the events unfold as told in Matthew 9: 1-8.  A paralytic on a stretcher who rises and walks away after hearing Jesus say, "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven. Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home." Upon which the man rises and goes home.

As a bystander at the side of the road words drift through my mind…. faith, forgiveness, mercy, belief,  trust; other words come to mind and include doubt, fear, struggle, paralysis, resistance.  The doubt, fear, struggle and resistance are felt first. I know I would be immobilized wondering what would happen next?  I would reach out to the person next to me and share my disbelief at what I just saw. I would need someone to console me and try to decipher what had just happened?  I would question if what I just saw was true? I would share my disbelief and try and convince myself and others that the man was not paralyzed. I would conjecture that this was 'fake', the man never was paralyzed, and it was all construed. 

O me with so little faith?  

I would like to think that the one person I reached out to would challenge my doubts, fears, and resistance. That one person would have more faith and courage than I.  S/he would trust and believe the truth of Jesus performing this miracle. That one person would make a difference in my life, change my disbelief into belief.  In that moment of change perhaps redirect my purpose in life?

The power of that one moment and how one person can make a difference.  I pray to be that person when someone reaches out to me.  A person of faith, strength, and courage who believes. 

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