July 5th – forgiveness and healing

Gospel MT 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
“This man is blaspheming.”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
“Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he then said to the paralytic,
“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.

Bishop Robert Barron

Friends, in our Gospel today Jesus heals a paralytic, but not before first forgiving his sins: “People brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.’” Jesus read the hearts of scribes who had decided he was blaspheming, and so he replied, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk?’” When no reply came, Jesus sent the man off home carrying his stretcher.

The story affirms that Jesus offers us forgiveness and healing. Even though we are sinners, even though we are hopeless in our hatred and stupidity, even though we had gone (and would still go today) to the limits of killing God’s own son, God still loves us; God still forgives us. We know that nothing can possibly separate us from the love of God because we hear in the greeting of the risen Jesus that any and every sin can be forgiven.

 

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