- Sing a new song to the Lord for he has worked wonders (Ps. 98: 1)
After saying a few things last week about the predicaments of one at home, I read in this Sunday’s gospel that Jesus was at home. He went home after returning to Capernaum.
But as it turned out, his home was not his home. Or at least, his home was not treated like it was his, for some people opened up, just like that, the roof of the house, even if it is to be admitted that they had the best of intentions and showed amazing faith.
Such behavior on the part of those carrying the paralytic strikes me to be rather hard to believe. I have never seen anything like it. I consider unbelievable and amazing as well Jesus’ reaction. I see his reaction as though indicating, among other things, that his house is also the house of anyone seeking in him healing and protection. I interpret it to be his proclamation of solidarity with the poor and the suffering, his way of declaring what is affirmed in 2 Cor. 1:19-20, namely, that however many the promises of God, their "Yes" is in him and that the "Amen" from us also goes through him to God for glory. Does not this mean that indeed Jesus Christ is both the invitation par excellence that God extends to humankind and the response par excellence that humankind gives to God? In any case, unbelievably marvelous is this matter of Jesus’ being, at once, home and not at home, this matter of his exaltation in his humiliation, this matter of his being wholly divine in his being human to the utmost. Truly, one can ask in amazement, as does the psalmist in Ps. 113:5-6, "Who is like the Lord, our God, who has risen on high to his throne yet stoops from the heights to look down, to look down upon heaven and earth?"
But I think, they only are capable of being amazed and of perceiving the new things the Lord is doing and making spring forth, those who empty themselves out. This I gather from reading a conference St. Vincent gave, the same one that I referred to last week. In this conference of Dec. 6, 1658, St. Vincent, humbly, I think, but without mincing words, said in part:
- But what sort of men will they be who will strive
- to turn us away from those good works we have
- begun? They will be the pleasure-seekers, the
- pleasure-seekers, the pleasure-seekers, who want
- nothing but to enjoy themselves. Provided they
- have a good dinner, they do not worry about anything
- else. Who else? They will be ... It is better
- that I do not say it. They will be men who coddle
- themselves [as he said this he placed his hands
- under his armpits, imitating the lazy], men who
- have only a narrow outlook, who confine their
- views and plans to a fixed circumference within
- which they shut themselves up as in one spot;
- they are unwilling to leave it, and if they are
- shown something outside it and draw near to look
- at it, at once they withdraw to their center ....
So, then, blessed are those who, in the manner of Jesus, are at home and not at home at one and the same time, for they will be astounded and will glorify God.