Hebrews 4:1-5, 11
Jesus returns to Capharnaum and enters the home,of Peter. Immediately a large crowd filled the home and even filled the entrances to the house. Everyone was eager to hear Jesus preaching and healing.
Among the people four men came carrying a friend on a mat who was a paralytic. These four men who were friends tried without success to bring their friend to Jesus hoping he could be cured. Access to Jesus was impossible. So these men carried the man up to the roof of the house, removed the tiles and lower the man down to lay him at the feet of Jesus.
Jesus is surprised not just at the man afflicted with paralysis, more so at his four friends. Jesus saw their affection and friendship for this man and their faith. Jesus forgives the sins of the man. Then he tells him to pick up his mat and go home.
In this periscope we can see in Jesus how much he respects and honors friendship. Aristotle grounds friendship in the values of goodness and beauty. I could imagine the mind of Jesus seeing these gentlemen and thinking how deep down and over flowing is the goodness of these men. Is there anything more beautiful this man could ask for other than the untarnished friendship of his four friends. This is supported and sustained by their faith.
Their faith showed them their faith and friendship resembled the friendship their ancestors had for God. These were called friends of God: Abraham, the wandering Aramean filled with faith and fidelity, Moses, who could speak and argue with God, and from whom God could keep no secret, Joshua, the man from Nun, the young apprentice of Moses, and David of the generous heart.
The artist Columba said: "A friend is someone who hears the song in your heart and whispers it to you when your memory fails." Shakespeare said: "The friends thou hast and their attention tried, grapple them to your soul with loops of steel."
Thank God for friends they are the one who will carry you through thick and thin, They are the ones who will lift roofs and place you at the feet of Jesus when our prayers need bolstering. They are always there when we are most in need.
Fr. Ken O’Malley, C.P., is the local superior at Holy Name Passionist Community in Houston, Texas.