First reading Isaiah 35:1-10

The return of the redeemed through the desert

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult,
let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,
let it rejoice and sing for joy.
 
The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,
the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
they shall see the glory of the Lord,
the splendour of our God.
 
Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to all faint hearts,
‘Courage! Do not be afraid.
 
‘Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming,
the retribution of God;
he is coming to save you.’
 
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
the ears of the deaf unsealed,
then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy;
 
for water gushes in the desert,
streams in the wasteland,
the scorched earth becomes a lake,
the parched land springs of water.
 
The lairs where the jackals used to live
become thickets of reed and papyrus…
 
And through it will run a highway undefiled
which shall be called the Sacred Way;
the unclean may not travel by it,
nor fools stray along it.
 
No lion will be there
nor any fierce beast roam about it,
but the redeemed will walk there,
for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.
 
They will come to Zion shouting for joy,
everlasting joy on their faces;
joy and gladness will go with them
and sorrow and lament be ended.
 
 

Responsorial Psalm 84(85):9-14

Look, our God is coming to save us.
 
I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
  a voice that speaks of peace,
  peace for his people.
His help is near for those who fear him
  and his glory will dwell in our land.
 
Mercy and faithfulness have met;
  justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
  and justice look down from heaven.
 
The Lord will make us prosper
  and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
  and peace shall follow his steps.
 
 

Gospel Luke 5:17-26 

‘Your sins are forgiven you: get up and walk’

Jesus was teaching one day, and among the audience there were Pharisees and doctors of the Law who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and from Jerusalem. And the Power of the Lord was behind his works of healing. Then some men appeared, carrying on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him. But as the crowd made it impossible to find a way of getting him in, they went up on to the flat roof and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith he said, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. ‘Who is this man talking blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made them this reply, ‘What are these thoughts you have in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven you” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralysed man – ‘I order you: get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’ And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
  They were all astounded and praised God, and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’
 
 
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“Seeing their faith”

Today’s gospel speaks to us of the need and importance of community. This is because, in this journey of faith, we need to depend on the faith of one another. When we find ourselves paralysed with doubts and lack of fervour, the faith of others in our family, community, and parish can carry us and bring us closer to Jesus.
 
In the gospel, nothing could stop the four friends from their mission to bring the paralysed man to Jesus. Jesus saw their unwavering faith and healed the man. Our Christian faith is not a lonely journey where we walk alone. God gives people to journey with us and carry us with their prayer, love, wisdom and kindness. Likewise, we ,too, are called to carry others to encounter Jesus.
 
Reflective question:
Have I experienced carrying others to Christ and being carried to Christ by the faith and love of those around me?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.