By Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU

Isaiah 35:1-10 | Psalm 85:9ab, 10, 11-12, 13-14 | Luke 5:17-26

Serving in the Shadows

“Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus” (Lk 5:18-19)

In today’s Gospel we witness a genuine act of service. We learn of a paralyzed man who harbors hope that if only he can come into Jesus’ presence some miracle will occur. How is he to find his way to Jesus?

Little is known of those who respond to his plea, but journey with him they did. They carry him to the place where Jesus is teaching but are unable to edge their way through the crowd. They could have said, “We tried. It could not be done.” Instead, up to the roof they go, to create an opening and lower that hope-filled, paralyzed man to the feet of Jesus.

That we know nothing of the friends of the paralyzed man is significant for our peace-filled witness as Christians today. We live in a society of sound bytes and social media, where reputations are credited and debited as quickly as we swipe a credit card for a last minute gift purchase. The friends of the paralyzed man did not seek credit for their action. They simply did the work that needed to be done and moved on. As we journey through Advent might we follow their example?

Reflection: Can you think of an example where faith and action have combined to produce a positive outcome that few thought possible at the time?

It is commonly said that we should be of service to those who are less fortunate. What does this mean to you? How do you interpret this call within the framework of Pax Christi USA’s mission?

Think about those in need in your community—the marginalized, the mentally ill, the hungry and homeless, the elderly. How does your faith invite you to respond to their needs? Have you been able to do so either by yourself or in concert with others?

This reflection is from Voices of Hope, Women of Wisdom: Reflections for Advent 2012. This booklet is available and can be ordered online here. Sr. Dianna Ortiz is a Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace.

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