We readily recognize the miracle of the paralytic being cured, but the Gospel depicts another miracle—the unselfish devotion of four friends bringing the paralytic to Jesus.

I imagine four men putting their friend on a litter, but, frustrated when they could not draw near to Jesus, they clambered up to the roof; and, while balancing the litter, tore open the roof, then carefully lowered the paralytic down to Jesus. As they did so, Jesus “saw their faith.”

Pope Francis notes, “faith is a gift that one cannot keep to oneself, but is to be shared.” We do not get to salvation on our own. We carry others with us, and sometimes they carry us.

Faith changes lives. The faith of the litter-bearers changed their lives, and the life of their friend. How will Jesus “see my faith” today? Will it be life-changing, for me, for a friend?  

―George Penman Sullivan, Jr. is a Jesuit-educated lay leader who helped found Chicago’s Ignatian Volunteer Corps. He and his wife, Dorothy, live in Wilmette IL, and have four children and three grandchildren.