January 17, 2020 (Friday) - A Friend in Need - A Reflection on Mark 2:1-12

Many years ago I used to have dreams where I’d find myself totally paralyzed, unable to move or make a sound, and they were the most terrifying dreams I have ever had. I have discovered that this dream is actually quite common, along with dreams of finding yourself naked in public or falling down a cliff. Fortunately, one can wake up from these dreams, and heave a sigh of relief.

Have you ever dreamed of being paralyzed? Then I am sure you know how terrible it is, but fortunately you can wake up from it, and heave a sigh of relief. But what if being paralyzed is the state of your life and not a nightmare that you can wake up from? How terrible is that? In today’s story we find such a man, presumably paralyzed for years, who is taken to Jesus by his friends. They can’t get into the house where he is preaching, so they make a hole through the roof and let him down.

I marvel at their friendship. Taking much effort, and at great risk to their own safety, they ensure their friend meets Jesus because they believe — they totally believe — that Jesus will heal him. All they have to do is arrange the encounter and Jesus will do the rest. Do you have friends? I am sure that you do. Here’s a question. How far will you go to ensure your friends meet Jesus? Because you know what? Many of us are paralyzed with sin, frozen in our wicked ways. How far would you go?

It is really a serious question, because eternity is a reality that every human being has to face. And this eternity can be spent in one of two states: with God or without God. If one is with God, we are ensured of eternal bliss. If one isn’t, we are ensured of the opposite. Now if you have secured your eternal life with God, wouldn’t you want your friend to have this secured as well? Or are you cool with them being lost forever?

I start preaching a 3-day retreat at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Santacruz, Mumbai today. This retreat often serves to be an introduction to Jesus. If you live in the city — the city, not just the neighborhood — how about you bring your friend for the retreat so he can meet Jesus. I know it is very difficult to get around in Mumbai — traffic’s a waking nightmare — but perhaps the story of friendship today will inspire you to go out of your way to show your love for your friend.

Like they say, a friend in need is a friend indeed.