In his homily on Friday morning, Pope Francis commented on the Gospel story of the paralytic lowered through the roof, saying that stagnant faith breeds unkindness while authentic faith takes risks to be closer to Jesus.
Searching for Christ “isn’t easy, but it’s wonderful! And it’s always a risk,” the Pope said. When we ask Jesus for healing or the answer to a problem, he said, Christ goes even further, healing the spirit and offering the forgiveness of sins.
During Mass at the Chapel of Santa Marta, the Pope spoke about the men in the Gospel who created a hole in the roof, lifting down a paralytic man to where Jesus was teaching, so he could be close to Jesus and ask him for healing.
Speaking out against the spectators who didn't follow Jesus, but who stayed in their place, Francis warned against the danger of growing into clericalism. It is the judgmental who see the simple-hearted and judge them for unknown or even impure intentions, he said.
“Those who didn’t move…and watched. They were sitting down…watching from the balcony. Their life was not a journey: their life was a balcony! From there they never took risks. They just judged.”
What is important, the Pope emphasized, is to follow Jesus, even with imperfect intentions. Searching for Jesus imperfectly still contains the desire for the forgiveness of sins.
When Jesus hid away after crowds wanted to make him into a king to rule politically, he still allowed them to follow. The danger is staying in place and not seeking Jesus, Francis said, stressing that those who have faith are unconcerned with looking ridiculous and like sinners.
Just as the men who lowered the paralytic had risked a legal case with the owner of the house, and the woman who touched Christ's cloak in a crowd had risked public ridicule, Pope Francis noted that following Christ can create risk and fear in our own lives.
He ended the homily encouraging his listeners to consider these questions, and to think about what holds them back from taking risks.
“Do I entrust my life to Jesus? Am I walking behind Jesus even if sometimes I seem ridiculous? Or am I sitting still, watching what others are doing?”