Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Junipero Serra, Priest (1713-1784) Patron Saint of Vocations, Hispanic Americans, California
Book of Genesis 22:1B-19, Psalm 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9, & Matthew 9:1-8
In today's Gospel narrative, we hear the beautiful story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man. I love this story because it shows how moved Jesus becomes when people have faith in Him. He told the man to have courage, and He said his sins had been forgiven. It would be a remarkable story if it ended right there. But, it gets even better.
Whenever forgiveness of sin happens, there is the powerful presence of God's mercy, and there always seems to be someone "religious" nearby that has a problem with mercy, mere forgiveness, and compassion. In this case, these religious leaders (scribes) challenge Jesus' authority to offer God's forgiveness.
What's so wonderful about what happens next is that Jesus knows that He has already healed the paralyzed man. He knows that what the man needed was forgiveness. Our Lord always knows the debilitating impact of sin on each one of us. Jesus sees into the heart of our 'paralysis,' and He offers us courage. He understands and has compassion for our struggles. Jesus forgives us and, therefore, heals us so we can be free. I told you it gets better!
So that we might understand that Jesus can forgive sins and can heal us, He tells the man to get up and walk by saying, "Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home." The man was made whole by God's merciful love. And those who witness Jesus' compassion all praise God because the power to forgive sins is among them.
Today, let Jesus look into our hearts and heal what is causing us pain and anguish. Listen to His voice saying, "Courage child, your sins are forgiven." Imagine the smile on His face because He knows that we are no longer paralyzed and that we can get up from whatever it was that held us down.
Question of the Day: How will you share with others the healing power of God?
Prayer: Father, let me be always Your child in whom You can be pleased. Amen.