Author: James Martin, S.J.
The Lazy Paralytic
1. When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at his home.
2. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them.
3. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.
4. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay.
5. When Jesus saw this he grew angry, “Why did you wreck my roof? Do you have any idea how much that cost to install? Do you know how many tables and chairs I had to make in my carpentry shop to pay for that roof? The reeds alone cost five talents. I had them carted in from Bethany.”
6. The disciples had never seen Jesus so angry about his possessions. He continued, “This house is my life. And the roof is the best part.” The disciples fell silent.
7. “It’s bad enough that you trash my private property, now you want me to heal you?” said Jesus, “And did you not see the stone walls around this house?” “Yes,” said the man’s friends. “Are these not the stone walls common to the towns and villages of Galilee?”
8. “No,” Jesus answered. “This is a gated community. How did you get in?” The man’s friends grew silent.
9. Then Jesus turned and said to the paralytic, “Besides, can’t you take care of your own health problems? I’m sure that your family can care for you, or maybe the synagogue can help out.”
10. “No, Lord,” answered the man’s friends. “There is no one. His injuries are too severe. To whom else can we go?”
11. “Well, not me,” said Jesus. “What would happen if I provided access to free health care for everyone? That would mean that people would not only get lazy and entitled, but they would take advantage of the system.
12. Besides, look at me: I’m healthy. And you know why? Because I worked hard for my money, and took care of myself.” The paralyzed man then grew sad and he addressed Jesus. “But I did work, Lord,” said the paralytic. “Until an accident rendered me paralyzed.” “Yes,” said the man’s friends. “He worked very hard.”
13. “Well,” said Jesus, “That’s just part of life, isn’t it?” “Then what am I to do, Lord?” said the paralytic. “I don’t know. Why don’t you sell your mat?”
14. All in the crowd then grew sad. “Actually, you know what you can do?” said Jesus. “You can reimburse me for my roof. Or I’ll sue you.” And all were amazed.
15. “We have never seen anything like this,” said the crowd. Continue reading The Not-so-Social Gospel →