By Fr. Roy Cimagala
BECAUSE they could not get close to Christ, they opened the roof above Christ and lowered a paralytic so he can be before Christ to ask for a cure. (cfr. Mk 2,1-12)
What a wonderful scene that shows how a strong faith is needed to be able to get some extraordinary interventions from Christ. Christ, of course, always takes care of us, mostly in our ordinary, daily affairs and conditions, but on some special occasions, we may have to show great faith to also receive some special favors from him.
This truth of our Christian faith was shown in all the miraculous cures narrated in the gospel. The blind men, the lame, the lepers, etc. were cured because of their strong faith. That strong faith may be shown in a very open way, as usually narrated in the gospel, but it can also be shown in a quiet and hidden way, as in the case of the woman suffering from an issue of blood. (cfr. Lk 8,43-48)
Yes, faith is needed for miracles to happen. We have to be clear about this point. For miracles to happen, especially the most important one which is our own salvation that involves the forgiveness of our sins, faith is needed. This was dramatized in that gospel episode where Christ was presented with a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
“When Jesus saw their faith,” the gospel narrates, “he said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.’” Christ said this before he went to cure the man of his paralysis. He cured the man to prove to the unbelieving Jews that he was truly the Redeemer, and as such can do extraordinary cures. And he cured the man precisely because of their faith, that is, their belief that Christ was truly the expected Redeemer.
Nowadays, many people claim that miracles do not happen anymore. They say miracles only took place in the distant past, the time of the gospel when Christ went around in the land of Judea and Galilee. But now, miracles are considered obsolete, if not an anomaly.
This is like saying that Christ, the son of God who became man, has ceased intervening in our lives, that he was purely a historical man, subject to time and space, and that after death, he is simply no more, completely wrapped in the spiritual world, if ever that exists, and that he has no immediate and tangible impact on our lives.
We have to be clear about this point. Christ is always around and is actively intervening in our lives, directing and leading us to our proper end, in spite of our very erratic ways. He can never be indifferent to us, and is willing to suffer and die for us just to save us. Precisely he came as an expiation for our sins. He is the one who pays for our sins. All we have to do is just to try to go along with him in the best way we can.
So, we have to be clear about the truth that miracles are meant more to forgive our sins and for our salvation rather than just curing an ailment, and that we have to be wary of our tendency to be disbelieving.
To address this tendency of ours to be disbelieving, we have to be humble to be able to receive what is told to us by faith. We have to realize that our life, being a life with God and therefore is supernatural, needs to be lived by faith more than just by our reason alone.