Gospel: Lk 5:17-26
One day, Jesus was teaching, and many Pharisees and teachers of the law had come from every part of Galilee and Judea, and even from Jerusalem. They were sitting there, while the power of the Lord was at work to heal the sick. Then some men brought a paralyzed man who lay on his mat. They tried to enter the house to place him before Jesus, but they couldn‘t find a way through the crowd. So they went up on the roof, and, removing the tiles, they lowered him on his mat into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, ”My friend, your sins are forgiven.” At once the teachers of the law and the Pharisees began to wonder, ”This man insults God! Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” But Jesus knew their thoughts and asked them, ”Why are you reacting like this? Which is easier to say: ‘Your sins are forgiven‘ or ‘Get up and walk‘? Now you shall know, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” And Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ”Get up, take your mat and go home.” At once, the man stood before them. He took up the mat he had been lying on, and went home praising God. Amazement seized the people and they praised God. They were filled with a holy fear, and said, ”What wonderful things we have seen today!”
Jesus shows that physical and spiritual restoration are connected. Though many come to Jesus seeking only physical deliverance, he knows that many of the problems they face actually require a recognition of a God who is merciful and not a God of reward and punishment. Sickness and sin are many times considered as cause and effect of one‘s condition. One is sick because it is a manifestation of punishment from sin. In announcing forgiveness, and then healing the man, Jesus was showing that his mission was to remove the religious barriers that separate faith and human well-being. Through his life and ministry, He would do away with the primacy of rules and regulations as a means of approaching God. Through Jesus, people can approach God‘s mercy and experience his forgiveness without condition. The religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees and teachers of the law saw the matter differently. They make the accusation that Jesus speaks blasphemies for ”Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus was preaching a different God than them and they saw fit to accuse him of not speaking of the right doctrine. Pope Francis, in his Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy says: Mercy is a key word that indicates God‘s action towards us. He does not limit himself merely to affirming his love, but makes it visible and tangible. Love, after all, can never be just an abstraction. By its very nature, it indicates something concrete: intentions, attitudes and behaviours that are shown in daily living. The mercy of God is his loving concern for each one of us. He feels responsible; that is, he desires our well-being and he wants to see us happy, full of joy, and peaceful. This is the path which the merciful love of Christians must also travel. As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018