In the Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Great Lent, the Church draws our attention to the benefit of Church in our struggle to reach Christ. Contrary to what we might think, we need the Church in order to reach Christ, just as the paralytic man needed his friends in order to reach Christ. Then he could be healed, and so can we.
According to the Gospel (Mark 2.1-12) Christ was surrounded by a large crowd who had gathered to hear His teaching. The crowd was so large, a paralytic being carried by his four friends couldn’t fit in the house. If not for his friends, the paralytic would have been left outside while the rest of the crowd was blessed by God. But when his friends helped him by climbing up and tearing a hole in the roof, then he was able to reach Christ and be healed.
During our Great Lenten journey, the Church is here to help us, just as the friends of the paralytic, reach Christ. We don’t have to sit outside the gates of His House, while others are blessed on the inside. With the help of our fellow Church members, we reach Christ. We fast together. We pray together. We learn together. We worship together. We help others together. We laugh and cry together. We reach Christ together.
Once we reach Him, then we can hear Him say, “Your sins are forgiven….Rise, take up your pallet and go home.” We will be forgiven and healed by God, not only through our efforts, but through the faith of the Church. The Gospel teaches, “When Jesus saw their faith,” then He forgave the paralytic. Why was their faith so important? They were willing to go through the extra effort to carry their friend to Christ. They put their own comfort second to the needs of their friend. They could have turned back, telling their friend Jesus was too busy to be bothered.
Unfortunately, there are times we turn back rather than carrying our friends to Christ. There are times that we, challenge the work of Christ in others, feeling justified that we are already comfortably in the Church. Spend the remaining weeks of Great Lent carrying each other as a Church so we can reach Christ and His Resurrection together.