This story is inspired by Mark 2:1–12.
Jesus “returned to Capernaum…[and] it was reported that he was at home.” As I reflected on the Gospel passage, I found myself drawn to the character of Jesus’ landlord. I could hear her:
I’ve rented out rooms before. It’s chancy, despite references. The carpenter from Nazareth seemed safe, because he’s a distant relation. Our bedrooms surround a large front room that I share with my tenants. I keep it neat and clean, taking pride in my property.
Coming back from an errand, I can’t even approach my own front door. Are you kidding? I’m getting tired of the riffraff Jesus attracts. These are not the kind of people I want sharing my home.Despite much pushing and shoving, I can’t reach my back door either. I have work to do! Sighing heavily, I ask myself: Now what? I work hard, scrimp and save, and my reward is this house.I give up trying to get in and shove my way out of the sweaty crowd. Down the block a friend welcomes me in. “I’ve got to evict that guy,” I say.
After a pot of tea, I head home, no less angry. And what I see makes my blood boil. My ladder is leaning against my now-deserted home’s exterior, and there’s a gaping hole in my roof.
At my front door, a few people remain in animated conversation.
“What happened here?” I ask hotly.
“You never would believe it!” one of them says. “Jesus healed a man who was paralyzed after saying his sins were forgiven!”
“I mean about my roof! Look at that hole! Who’s going to fix that?”
The group looks at me with eyebrows raised, mouths gaping open. The woman tries again. “Four friends of Joshua—you’d know him; he’s been paralyzed since falling off his roof—carried him here but couldn’t get in through the door. It was so crowded.”
“I’m very aware of that!” I say indignantly.
“But, wait. I’m telling you that many people were healed here today, including Joshua,” the woman says, pleadingly. “I’m sure they will come back to fix your roof; it’s just in the excitement of Joshua walking—walking out!—his friends were hugging and crying and laughing, and they ran off to see his family.”
Her friends are moving away now, calling her to come along. I shake my head, she leaves, and I go inside. My living space is strewn with bits of thatch from the roof. No one is here. As I’m about to reach for a broom, I hear a tap at my door. It’s a messenger from Jesus, who “asked me to come back and talk about…”
I interrupt. “You tell that carpenter that I can see why they kicked him out of Nazareth. Pack his belongings now. I don’t want to hear what you have to say. He’s no longer welcome here.”
“But Jesus will make everything right,” the messenger explains. “He always does…”
- What “thatch” has paralyzed me—what life circumstances—making it impossible for me to see the miracles in my life today?
- Where am I missing the obvious miracle right in front of me?
Definitely something to ponder before Lent, during Lent. What messes in my life have not been turned over to Jesus for help with? (Or ignore the messes and spend time offering thanks for the miracles instead?)
I truly found myself in this perspective. I too look at the physical around me first, instead of the spiritual gifts I am experiencing in the mess of life. Thank you, Thank you for helping me adjust my perspective! God Bless you!
Good lesson,but the roofs of those homes were designed so that you could open them to lower whatever you had when the doors were not accessible.
Interesting perspective. How might that information deepen your own reflection on this Gospel story? Where might you see yourself in conversation with the landlord, or Jesus himself?
I too have wondered about the hole in the roof. I’ve felt anxious as I experience them tearing the opening. I wonder with angst who is going to fix that? Plus it will cost time and money. Jesus is a carpenter but nowhere do I read or hear he fixed the roof. This I experience even as I see Jesus heal the paralyzed man. I am quite literal so didn’t see it metaphorically till you all pointed it our. Who tears the hole in my roof? Will the CARPENTER fix it too?
Isn’t it interesting to consider! The NIV Bible puts it this way: they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it. What barriers do I need to dig through to reach Jesus? Who will help me when I feel paralyzed and unable to draw close to my God? ?
Messiness is okay! Through our mess we come to rely on Jesus and others.
Excellent! Thank you!
Wow! I love how you told this story from the point of view of the homeowner. I definitely saw myself in her! The reflection questions really made me think.
Thank you very much for exploring the effect of this miracle in a unique way!
We had this scripture yesterday during Worship plus a book read for the children. This piece makes it even more meaningful for me as I am struggling with a broken roof right now.
Thanks for your comment. I often feel my roof is broken open, too.
I remember when I felt the challenge to love…. But he creates endless piles, fills every empty space…. Then there are these things in the yard. My family seems so needy… It caused isolation- others keep everything in such order, they cannot handle one thing out of place. The people coming and going kept me encouraged and I maintained some order. The isolation is difficult. Though I am glad that these needy men have a place. I trust God to take care of things. Right now I am getting new life towards re establishing a gentle order that allows for their ways. It is hard; if I had some structure besides just what I provide it would be so helpful. But the call was to love. When His healing is more complete, I feel certain the order will also come about. Love reading this story through such a human perspective. I have always been so excited that he healed the lame man and that his friends loved him that much. I never thought about the many who only see the mess.
She is me. How can my impregnable ego and hardened heart blind me so completely to reality?
As usual, I am there in your posts with you, Loretta. How fortunate are those who have you as a spiritual director. Many thanks.
sometimes the imagination can get a bit carried away – or the imagination reveals more about ourselves thn we probably would ordinarily share.
Imagination is very different from imaginary. God often uses the gifts God created in us to communicate with us. These gifts include our ability to reason, to think, as well as our ability to imagine a sunset, or imagine an encounter with Christ.
This is terrific. It really wakes me up and opens the eyes of my heart even wider