Religion column — Hey you, get out of bed!
By Fr. Jonathan Filkins
It is a rare person among us who, as a child, has not heard the words from some disjointed wraith casting an ever-growing umbra upon our delicious slumber. Slowly, as our quickening senses adjust to the harsh realities of consciousness, our youthful minds begrudgingly acknowledge the savage reality of the burgeoning promise of the new day. As we are so inclined, we make every effort to return to our former state of repose, pulling the oh-so-warm covers over our knobby pates.
Yet, the incessant intonations continue. In spite of our every desire to master the fine art of dormancy, the incredulous cacophony of matriarchal persistency infiltrates our every pore. Deeming it now time to permit our august personages to alight from the bedchamber we may, or may not, provide some lamentable groan and express our indignity over the entire situation. Our sloth, in our day’s preparation, is profound. We seek the least pungent articles of clothing; with the only requirement that it will not be too offensive to others olfactory sensibilities.
Blinded by the lights of the kitchen, we stagger into the din of the scene before us; assailed by innumerable inane questions by those whom which we are forced to dwell. “How did you sleep?” “Do you have your homework?” “Don’t hit your sister,” and the equally insipid, “Have you got your new baseball?” All assail our tired, inert innards. All we want to do is go back to bed! Why don’t these awful creatures understand?
Somewhere, somehow, in the clearing fog of growing older, we begin to understand this seemingly incessant oversight truly has our best interests at its center. As adults, we understand the necessity of, “getting on with it.” Whether it be expanding our minds, or our pocketbooks, we have learned to take the initiative; even when we would really, really like to roll over and pull up the covers in that nice, warm bed.
Part of the luxury of our living, in this place and at this time, is we frequently have little necessity for action. Gone are the days when the general populace spends the entirely of their days scratching in the dirt for something to eat, a scrap of clothing, or living in a dugout. While we may lament and make efforts to correct the ills of our Society, our sufferings are far less than what has gone before.
Yet, disease and disorders are always the specter which glowers in the shadows. Even today, in spite of all of our advances, we fret over the advance of some malady which could infect ourselves, or others. In Jesus’ day, as in our day, we have the scourge of Epilepsy; either though physical disposition, or injury. In earlier times, it was thought these folks were possessed by demons, and were shunned, Today, we know it as a neurological deficit; frequently managed with medication.
According to the early portion of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus was firmly establishing his ministry around the Sea of Galilee. After the Sermon on the Mount on the western shore, he went on to Capernaum; first healing the Centurion’s servant. Then the Christ went on to heal Saint Peter’s mother-in-law, who had a fever; then many others were brought to him for the miracle of healing. As the knowledge of his presence grew, so did the press of the crowd.
However, there was no decrease in our Savior’s efforts. There was no rest in the urgency of his charity for us. “And, behold, they brought to him a man, stricken with palsy, [epilepsy.]” Jesus said, “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven.” Then he continued, “Arise, take up your bed and go into your house.”
Jesus cured both the inward sinner and the outward epileptic, for such is the power of God. “But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God which had given such power to men.” This power is very much present around us. We cannot lay asleep in our spiritual beds and seek and understand the truths we have been told. Our minds, souls and bodies are called upon to be active with our Lord and what he seeks from us. Like the child who grows into adulthood, we are called to grow into spiritual adulthood, by hearing the call of Jesus Christ.