A guy goes to the supermarket and notices an attractive woman waving at him. She says hello. He's rather taken aback because he can't place where he knows her from. So he says, "Do you know me?" To which she replies, "I think you're the father of one of my kids." Now his mind travels back to the time when he was a bachelor and thinks whether he has ever known this woman and asks shamefully, "Did I meet you during my wild bachelor party?" She looks into his eyes and says calmly, "No, I'm your son's math teacher".

They were four men whose names are forever unknown. They were four men who had a common goal and objective. They were four men who brought along their paralyzed friend the day Jesus came into town. They were four men who cared and believed.

We can see here what faith does to anybody who has that fundamental virtue. It is faith that makes the impossible possible. It is faith that removes the difficulty with ease. It is faith that clarifies the confusion.

Carrying their friend around the stony streets of Capernaum must have been a difficult task. They probably thought that things would be easy once they see Jesus. And once they got there, no Jesus was in sight. The doorway was blocked with people. The room was packed. There was no way for them to get through.

But if we have faith like these four men, we would never give up. They tried another approach. It was the stairway. And it was an uphill climb. Panting and puffing and sweaty, they got up on top of the roof. Still no sign of Jesus, still no way to Him. No doors, no windows, no glimpse of the carpenter from Nazareth.

Still they did not give up. They tried the doorway below them. They tried climbing the roof above them. And still no Jesus in sight. So, they had to do something very unusual. They began to tear a hole in the roof.

They knew what is of value to them. They had to get their friend to Jesus and they needed no barrier and difficulty, no hindrance and adversity. They had faith.

The example of these men teaches us that faith gives us the courage and strength to do impossible things if we want to see Jesus not for our sake alone, but for the sake of a friend who needs him more than we do. A church that tends to give up when its unity is divided and a person that gives up when problems tend to pile up are standards patterned upon what faith opposes: distrust, disbelief and disconnect.

The example of these men teaches us that impossible things can happen if they have a common ground and a concerted effort. We become a community by our unity. We can never be a community of faith unless we are united in our belief. We can never be a community of hope unless we are united in our vision and dreams. And we can never be a community of love unless we learn how to understand one another and accept each other’s strengths and weakness.

Faith has to pay the price. These men paid for it with their toil and sweat. Jesus paid for it dearly with his blood and tears. And we have to pay for it with our patience, perseverance and persistence.

Four of a kind beats a full house and that is what these men of faith showed us. Faith is willing to do the impossible, the unconventional, and the unusual for something that is without price and beyond value.

Once Jesus saw the man, he also did what was impossible, unconventional and unusual at that time. He said to the paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven.” Those who heard him were shocked because it was only God who can forgive sins. So they thought that Jesus was committing the sacred crime of blasphemy because he is equating God with Himself.

Our Savior knew what they were thinking. He looked into their eyes and their hearts and He basically knew what they needed. They needed to hear that He has the authority to forgive sins. They needed to hear that He is their God and that He is reaching out to them. Only people of faith heard what he was saying. Only people of faith understood what He was implying.

We do not know whether these men patched the hole in the roof they created once Jesus left Capernaum. But I believe they did. We may not know their names. But this we know. They remembered what Jesus did. They remembered what Jesus said. And now we will always remember how Jesus made them feel.

He told them that He is there for them. Especially when they have faith. Especially when they are united. Most especially when they believe. Jesus is there for them. And that was the only thing they needed to hear. Jesus is there for us. And He is in one of those four men carrying us through the paralysis of life and giving us the liberation from sin.

His name is not unknown. We know Him. He is Jesus, our Savior.

22 February 2009

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