Our Lord forgave this man and healed his paralysis because he saw the faith of his friends. It wasn’t the paralysed man’s faith that moved him; it was his friends’ faith. These men stood with their friend and were convinced that if they could just get him to Jesus, he could be healed. Even if it meant tearing up the roof, they loved their friend enough—and they believed in Jesus enough—to do it.
What a moving illustration of true fraternity and friendship. While the paralyzed man doubtless had faith himself, it was his friends who actually got him to Jesus. If it weren’t for them, he would never have been able to walk. He would never have known the forgiveness of his sins.
Our Lord never intended the Christian life to be a solitary journey. We are stronger when we are surrounded and supported by other people of like mind. The world tells us to be independent and self-reliant, but Our Lord tells us to lean on each other—and to let others lean on us. That’s probably why he sent his disciples to preach two by two. He knew they needed to balance each other out, with one helping the other in moments of weakness or tiredness. He knew they needed each other so that they wouldn’t fall to temptations of pride or give up in the face of opposition or hardship.
And isn’t this why we live in community? We’re not prima donnas, each doing our own thing, rather we support each other as we seek to spread the Gospel. We encourage others, and in turn, we are encouraged by them in our spiritual journey together. We are all companions to someone else, and our faith can make all the difference in another person’s life.
May we all be open to the generous gift of one another.