Hebrews 4:1-5,11
Mark 2:1-12


As we gear up for another year, with all its promises and its uncertainties, the efforts of the young man’s mates to get him to Jesus in Mark’s Gospel today reminded me of all those who bring the suffering to God’s healing love; all those working in hospitals and care homes, those far from home, working in refugee camps, those volunteering in times of war, emergency and calamity.  Many receiving care may not, like the young man suffering paralysis, experience a miracle cure or cessation of their loss, but anyone who suffers loss or grief knows what it’s like to have faithful friends who can support them, even carry them, in times of darkness. 

Although there are many faults with our contemporary society, it’s worth noting our gradual, systemic improvements in recognising the value of all human beings, irrespective of our abilities, so that we can amass and celebrate true human capital rather than measuring the worth of people in terms of dollars and cents or units of production.  All of us yearn for that metaphorical place of rest, which Paul speaks of in Hebrews today.   

While scholars argue over whether Jesus was actually forgiving the young man’s sins or simply telling him that God had forgiven him, I see Jesus encouraging the young man to let go of whatever burden is holding him from being who he is meant to be.  None of us gets through life without some bark being knocked off us, but if we let go of our fears, trust in God and strive forward, as Julian of Norwich wrote: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well”.

Brian Norman has been associated with the Passionists in various ways since he was three weeks old when he squared off with Fr Placid Millay CP over the baptismal font at St Brigid’s, Marrickville.