By Sister Janet McCann, ASC

A reading from the Gospel last week has captivated me for a long time. Do you recognize it? Does it move you too?

“When Jesus returned to Capernaum….many gathered together so that there was no longer room…and Jesus preached the word to them.  They came bringing a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying…”

We often hear people say they can recall exactly where they were when they received word of some significant event, like the first landing on the moon, or the attacks on the World Trade Center.

I remember hearing this Gospel from Mark for the first time when I was about 6 years old during a school mass at Holy Family Parish in Cahokia, Ill. Of course, there is more to the Gospel, but the part about breaking through the roof and lowering the man down on his mat? That really grabbed my attention.

I even remember where I was sitting in the old Rock Church, the third pew on the left, the seat closest to the center aisle.

This Gospel of Mark continues to grab my attention every time I hear it, and it must hold a special message for me. After all, it is the only gospel story from my grade school days where I can tell you those details about where I was when I first heard it.

There have been times through the years when I’ve decided that the only reason I remember the story is because of its rich symbolism and detail. Like many of you, I have focused on the man in the story who couldn’t move on his own.

I’ve wondered whose idea it was for this man to seek the healing power of Jesus. Who were these people who brought the man to Jesus? Were they his friends, or bystanders who sprang into action?

I’ve reflected on the “breaking through” experiences in my life where I was able to receive the healing power of Jesus.

As I grow older, I believe that there really is a particular message meant for me to discover. Of course, this could be said for every one of us with the scriptures, but I believe this Gospel story holds a treasure that’s meant specifically for me.

I haven’t unlocked it yet, but I continue exploring.

  • What scripture story holds you spellbound?
  • Where were you when you first heard it?
  • Are you still on the search, or have you unlocked the treasure?