Most of us have experienced at least one occasion when prayers for healing appeared to go “unanswered”. I have personally prayed for many sick people who were never physically healed. Instead of looking at these cases as examples of unanswered prayer, they should be regarded as prayers answered in a way we didn’t expect.
As hard as it is for us to accept, sometimes God chooses to answer our prayers in a way that doesn’t please us. In the gospel reading from today’s Mass (Mk 2:1-12), Jesus is asked to heal a paralytic. Instead of healing the man physically, Jesus proclaims “Child, your sins are forgiven.” This is not what the scribes wanted to hear. They accused The Lord of blasphemy, believing that “only God can forgive sins.” While there can be several layers of meaning to this passage, one clear message is that the paralytic received the healing that he needed, not necessarily the one he desired.
In a few days, we’ll enter the holy season of Lent. It is a time when we should prayerfully look at our lives and attempt to get closer to The Lord. We are all in need of some kind of healing. It may be physical, spiritual or emotional. We may not even be sure of what healing is needed in our lives. Just like today’s story of the paralytic, we may be confused as to what we really need.
As we begin to examine our lives, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to make us aware of the areas that need improvement. As our faults become more apparent we can begin to work on them and ask for the grace to improve. Unfortunately, sometimes we become “deaf” to the voice of the Spirit. Therefore, when we pray we should also remember to submit to God’s will and accept His answer …even if it isn’t what we wanted.