Mark 2: 1-12
ISN'T THIS ICON WONDERFUL (FULL OF WONDER)? Jesus is sitting because he is teaching. Sitting signifies authority. The iconographer has painted some of the crowd. The fellow on the left is perhaps interrogating Jesus, "Who are you to forgive sins?" The younger man in the middle has his hands up in the air - perhaps in awe of what he's hearing. The wide-eyed man second from the right, who is nervously adjusting his sleeve and looking away, seems to be saying or thinking, uh oh, as he hears Jesus forgive sins. He knows this will spell trouble for Jesus with the religious leaders.
Two of the four friends are looking through the hole they've made in the roof and through which they've lowered their handicapped friend. The sick man stretched out on the portable bed, his head propped up on a pillow, is looking hopefully at Jesus who is addressing him.
There's a mix of inside and outside world here, right? The house door is open but Jesus and the man are outside, even though we know the scene is inside the house. That was the whole point of opening the roof and lowering the man down in the first place. Remember that icons depict not just the outer historical event but the underneath - the whats' really going on here. And so the perspective is off, as we'd say. What matters is God's perspective, God's idea, what God is doing.
Capernaum is far distant, Way of the sea beyond Jordan.
Jesus the Lord has left Nazareth and settled there.
Let us allow Christ to venture deeply to the far away place within
and there a light will dawn.
The Savior was surrounded by so dense a crowd
it was impossible to get the needy man to him.
O let us hurry to be part of that crowd,
that I might hear Christ's teaching and glorify God.
Having healed first the soul of the paralyzed man,
Christ the Lord ordered him to rise up and walk.
And so the people marveled and glorified Christ,
who works awesome wonders!
The paralyzed man, healed by Christ, is truly an image of ourselves
set before the Lord by the faith of others.
I join the long story of holy believers,
and glorify Christ from the waters of the font.
When the paralyzed man was lowered through the roof,
Jesus the teacher said, Your sins are forgiven.
Christ is not shocked by my past; neither should I be.
But thanks to Christ for his eternal mercies.
Divinity is revealed in the forgiveness of sins,
a physical cure and the reading of human hearts.
O Christ, I will stand with the four faithful friends,
whose hearts are clean, trusting in you.
Jesus was inwardly aware of their thoughts
as they accused him of blasphemy by his forgiveness of sins.Yes, let us be zealous to please the Lord and Savior,
by merciful thinking that lifts others up.
While the roof is torn open,
all the more is heaven
and Christ-flame leaps down
to forgive and heal.
The healed man got up and walked in front of everyone.
Let us emulate this restored friend:
With gladness and without fear,
glorify Christ the Savior.
Capernaum you caught the Lord's scolding for your failure to turn,
though you'd heard the Lord's teaching and witnessed his wonders.
And so, let us not be dull of heart
but find a new standing in the changing of our minds. *
* Jesus asks for repentance. And repentance is not some mysterious thing but an inner turning: the changing of our minds. When was the last time you witnessed someone really changing his/her mind about something that matters: "You know, I was wrong about that, forgive me." "Thank you, I never looked at it that way." "It was very foolish of me to say that, I'm sorry." "Oh, your idea is a much better one."