BREAKING DOWN BARRIER

Monday, 2nd Week of Advent          

            One detail of today’s gospel reading stands out at this time of the year. It is the care and faith of the sick man’s friends. They are willing to break down any barrier, even the tiles of the roof, to bring him before the Lord. Jesus heals the paralytic because he sees and acknowledges the faith of his friends who bring him before Jesus.

            How far are we willing to go to bring people to Christ. What barriers are we ready to overcome to present people to Jesus? We may not face the barrier of a crowded room but the more formidable ones: popular prejudice, past resentment, and current indifference. We need to have an active faith when praying before God. We have to show it concretely, like what the four did – giving their all to bring their friends to Jesus. We have to express our faith with the same determination.

            Though prayer, of course, we can bring people before the Lord. The season of Advent is a splendid opportunity to gather in our prayer all the people we like and the people we do not like who are in need of God’s grace. We can pray for the physical healing they may need, the spiritual cleansing they may require, or the grace of the Holy Spirit to enable them to reorient their lives toward Christ.

            Prayer for others not only helps them but also enlarges us. (Joseph Krempa) We all need the grace of the Holy Spirit to make that journey on the road to salvation – which Isaiah describes in today’s first reading. Many people have been detoured from that road to Christ. Some have been sidelined along the road because of physical illness or spiritual weariness. Some have lost their way – attracted and allured by the distorted values and pleasures of the world. Some have just stopped walking on due to discouragement or hopelessness.

            We can all take some concrete steps to invite others to Christ. Our invitation can be a vehicle to help them back on their journey to the Lord.

            Advent is a grace-filled time to help others back on the road to Christ. As Isaiah says in today’s first reading, we all have a journey to make. We all need help along the way. Prayer can help others rise and walk again toward Christ.

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