Imagine the strength and ingenuity it took to remove part of a roof, then to lift a sick and paralysed man onto that roof, and lower him through it to the ground at Our Lord’s feet. And not only that, consider that the concern of these men for their friend made them indifferent to the annoyance they surely provoked by going to the head of the queue in such a dramatic way. These people knew that Jesus could cure someone with a single word. So what is Saint Mark trying to tell us with this rather bizarre story?
I think we are being told that it isn’t enough just to pray for those who need our prayers. We must be companions to them in their suffering, and provide whatever aid and consolation we can, and of course, bring them into God’s presence with our prayers. Today’s gospel is an example of the ancient Christian adage: Pray as if everything depends upon God, but act as if everything depends upon you.
And so today let us examine the way we put this adage into practice in our lives. What actions and deeds can we add to our prayers for those in need, starting with those with whom we share our lives? Do we even recognise the extent of our responsibility for their well-being? As we continue with the Mass, let us ask God for the strength, the courage and the creativity to remove roofs where necessary.