Sunday February 19, Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
The gospel for this Sunday is taken from the Gospel of Mark 2:1-12
"When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they
opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the
mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Child, your sins are forgiven." Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?" Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, pick up your mat and walk?' But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth he said to the paralytic, "I say to you,
rise, pick up your mat, and go home." He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."
In this scene, Jesus is surrounded by two types of people: those who believe and have faith in Him and those who have strayed so far from God that their minds are closed to anything but blind obedience to the 600+ laws they have invented (as a replacement for the simple 10 commandments delivered to them through Moses.) When Jesus sees the paralytic, He looks not only at his feeble body but also at his soul. Jesus is touched by the faith of the man and his friends who even remove part of the roof in order to lay the paralyzed man at the feet of Jesus. Jesus has the power to heal everything; He chooses to heal the man's soul first. This act angers the scribes. Jesus presents them with a conundrum; is it easier to forgive sins or to cure the paralytic? That question goes unanswered. In response, Jesus tells the
man to "rise, pick up your mat, and go home." The man does as he is commanded and is
restored to full membership in his community. We know that when we sit before Jesus' judgment, we will be examined; not our bodies, but our souls. Jesus gives the greatest gift he has to offer us; forgiveness of our sins.
As I thought about this gospel, it struck me that the state of our souls is what is of primary importance to Jesus, not the state of our bodies. In our ego-centric world, the state of our body is of primary importance. Do we look young, are we fit, are we attractive to everyone around us, are our clothes beautiful and fashionable, do we have a great smile, etc.? Rarely do we stop to think about how our soul looks. Is it shining and full of God's light or is it covered in soot as we focus on the worldly pleasures around us? Only God has the power to remove that soot. Through prayer, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, reception of the Eucharist,
etc. we ask and receive forgiveness of our sins. Then because of our human frailties, we once again put smudges on our souls. And once again Jesus is there to forgive our sins if we but ask Him for forgiveness. This cycle of sin, forgiveness, sin, forgiveness goes on and on. I am grateful for the gifts of Faith and Hope that help me to know that Jesus loves me unconditionally and that He will forgive me if I but ask for His forgiveness and grace. As St. Claude de La Colombiere said, "I hope and I will always hope. And I will never cease hoping. When it is clear that there is no longer any reason to hope, then I will hope all the more."
Blessings to you all,
Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.