“And again He entered into Capharnaum after some days. And it was heard that He was in the house, and many came together, so that there was no room; no, not even at the door; and He spoke to them the word. And they came to Him, bringing one sick of the palsy, who was carried by four. And when they could not offer him unto Him for the multitude, they uncovered the roof where He was; and opening it, they let down the bed wherein the man sick of the palsy lay. And when Jesus had seen their faith, He saith to the sick of the palsy: Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.” Gospel of St. Mark 2:1-5
I heard Fr. John Riccardo read this passage on Relevant Radio yesterday. It struck me that the miraculous healing of the paralytic vindicates the Catholic teaching on the intercession of the saints:
1.) Our Lord did not come to the paralytic, and the paralytic did not come to Our Lord alone. Instead, four men–apparently strong men–carried the paralytic, made their way through the crowd, lifted the paralytic up to the roof of the building, opened the roof, and lowered the paralytic down into the room. The paralytic’s helpers had to do a lot of work before Our Lord did His work.
2.) Our Lord saw “their faith.” Note the plural. Our Lord saw not merely the faith of the paralytic, but the faith of his helpers as well. By our our faith and works of charity, we can merit blessings for others.
3.) Each of us is the paralytic, and the paralytic’s helpers are the saints who by their intercession clear a path for us to the Lord. We need the saints, just as the paralytic needed his helpers to bring Him to Jesus.
4.) Each of us is called to be an intercessor for others, and thereby become saints. Insofar as we are weak, we must rely on intercessors. Insofar as we are strong, we must become intercessors.
5.) Christ is the Mediator of mediators; His mediation becomes a matrix in which each Christian imitates Christ and His mediation. A saint is an imitator of Christ and a participant in His unique mediation between God and man. This is one aspect of belonging to the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.
6.) Why are there four helpers? The four helpers represent the Four Evangelists. Through the Gospels they wrote and through their intercession in Heaven, the Four Evangelists bring us to Jesus so He can heal us.
So when someone asks you, “Why pray to the saints when you can go directly to Jesus? Jesus doesn’t need any help,” you can point out this passage. “I seek Jesus the way that the paralytic did, with and through the intercession of the saints. That’s the Gospel way of approaching Jesus.”