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.
Many of us don’t see the outer world as it is. The way we look at the day, helps us to identify, not what’s happening outside, rather, what’s happening inside of us. Good people see always what is good in others. To live our life fully, it’s not good to look at the exterior world, rather look interior, including our feelings and emotions, particularly the way we orient our reasoning which leads into thinking, and comes out in action.
Thus, we can have two ways of looking the events in our daily life. One is conditioned by love (a look from our interiority) and the other is conditioned by the law (a look from our exteriority). Since Jesus looks at this paralysed man as the son of God, the beloved of the Father, his gaze seeks a way for him to be freed. God, who scrutinises the human mind, helps us to discover our interiority, contaminated by exteriority.
The gaze of Jesus, the paralyzed man, the scribes, and the crowd, are totally different. What is interesting in this story that can help us grow in faith is the fruit of this act, 'all gave glory to God'. We need to ask ourselves this sincere question, are our actions and words able to lead the people to give glory to God?
Action of the day: May your day glorify God.
“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
Fr. Francesc NICOLAU i Pous
Today, we find one of the many evangelic manifestations evidencing the merciful goodness of the Lord. They all show many aspects, rich in details. Jesus' compassion, mercifully exerted, goes from resurrecting the dead or healing a leper to forgiving an openly sinful woman; He heals many ailments and accepts repented sinners —as shown in the parables of the lost sheep, the lost drachma and the prodigal son.
Today's Gospel is another instance of the Savior’s mercy, in two respects: the illness of the body and the sickness of the soul. And, the soul being more important, is where Jesus starts. He knows the sick man has repented of his faults, He sees his faith and that of those bringing him, and says: “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9:2).
Why does He start like this without his having been asked to do so? He is, of course, aware of what the paralytic is thinking, and He knows this is what he will appreciate the most; for when facing the sanctity of Jesus, the paralytic might feel confused and ashamed of his own faults, which may hamper his healing. So the Lord wants to put him at ease first. Jesus does not care whether some teachers of the law murmur in their hearts. Not only is a part of his message to prove He has come to show his mercy towards sinners, He now proclaims it.
Thus, while those blinded by their pride think of themselves as the only just ones, and refuse to accept Jesus' claim, those that sincerely consider themselves as sinners, do take Him in. It is towards them that God sees fit to forgive. As St. Augustine says: “For here is great misery, proud man! But there is greater mercy, a humble God!” And, in this case, the divine mercy goes even further: as an additional complement to his forgiveness, He heals the paralytic as well: “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home” (Mt 9:6). Jesus wants the sinner's joy to be complete.
We must reaffirm our confidence in Him. But, we should remember we are also sinners, so let us not close ourselves to his grace.