In today’s Gospel from St. Mark, Jesus, having returned to Capernaum, is preaching in a room filled with people. We are told that so many were gathered to listen to him that there was “no longer room for them, not even around the door.”
Upon this scene come four men, determined to bring their paralytic friend to Jesus to be healed. But they can’t get near him because of the crowds. Their response: they break open the roof of the building and lower their friend in through the opening in the roof in order to reach Jesus. “When Jesus saw their faith,” he healed the paralytic.
I’m always taken by this story. By the incredible faith of the four friends, who knew Jesus could heal their friend. By their persistence. By their determination to do anything they could to get their friend to Jesus.
I wonder how many people would have given up. Would have seen the crowds by the door, shrugged their shoulders and walked away, saying, “maybe another day.” And, of course, I wonder whether I would have been as faith-filled, as persistent. Or whether the difficulties would have caused me to abandon the effort.
The four friends in today’s Gospel are a wonderful model for us. A model of faith. Of persistence. Of determination. Four people who knew how much they needed Jesus and would do anything they could to get to him.