Monday, February 20, 2012

Lent: Opening My Heart

Sunday's Gospel reading from St. Mark was a story I've heard before. I started thinking of it in a new way, which is offering me a new way to think about Lent.

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
"Child, your sins are forgiven."

Did you catch that? They opened up the roof above him. So, this man hosts Jesus and a huge crowd shows up and one man, a paralyzed man, can't see him and the host, instead of telling him to wait his turn, lets folks cut a hole in the roof of his house to let the man in.


The homilist, Father Keith Cervine, yesterday pointed out that the Church itself is like that house. We have to be open to all who come our way. And because we ourselves are the Body of Christ, we too need to be open, to be willing to let space into our hearts - even if it hurts a bit - to welcome the stranger among us.

Lately, I have been telling our teenaged sons, urging them really, to try to live without preconceptions about people, about situations, to live with open hearts.

How much of what I am trying to teach am I trying to learn?

As Lent approaches, I pray I will be willing to make room in my heart, that is, to sacrifice my sense of convenience and comfort, to let in the people in front of me each day.


  1. I know what you mean by teaching what you are trying to learn yourself. I find myself doing it all the time with my kids. "Be thankful for what you have and don't want more" or "only say nice things", "don't say, 'I hate'", "don't yell at your sister" any many more. I've wondered if they are going to think I am a hypocrite when they are older and wiser. But I have come to the conclusion that when they are older and wiser, they will realize that no one is perfect and we are all working on the same things in the path to perfection. I do hope they see me as someone who has worked hard despite my many faults in the pursuit of sanctity.

  2. That is so funny -- I too have heard this story a million times before, but yesterday, I was also particularly struck by the fact that they actually took the roof off the house. I was wondering all kinds of practical things like, "Did they get the homeowner's permission first?" :)

    But I looove what your priest said about the story. So true!