After some days Jesus returned to Capernaum. As the news spread that he was in the house, so many people gathered, that there was no longer room even outside the door. While Jesus was preaching the Word to them, some people brought to him a paralyzed man.
The four men who carried him couldn’t get near Jesus because of the crowd, so they opened the roof above the room where Jesus was and, through the hole, lowered the man on his mat. When Jesus saw the faith of these people, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some teachers of the Law, who were sitting there, wondered within themselves, “How can he speak like this, insulting God? Who can forgive sins except God?”
At once Jesus knew in his spirit what they were thinking, and asked, “Why do you wonder? Is it easier to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your mat and walk?’ But now you shall know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
And he said to the paralytic, “Stand up, take up your mat and go home.” The man rose and, in the sight of all those people, he took up his mat and went out. All of them were astonished and praised God, saying, “Never have we seen anything like this!”
Most of us, if not all, have something within us where we feel shame–whether it is something stupid we have done in the past, or some kind of physical disability, or something we dislike and find unacceptable in ourselves. All these affect our self-image, paralyzing us from moving forward with our life. No one wants to suffer from any kind of paralysis, much less be made a spectacle because of one’s condition. As much as possible we hide our flaws and imperfections from others’ view. Imagine how the paralytic must have felt when he was being lowered through the roof and made a spectacle before the crowd. He must have felt humiliated when all attention was upon him and his paralysis. But like him we want to be healed of our paralysis and be willing to accept whatever it takes to be freed from our shame and suffering. This is where the compassion of Jesus and the support of our friends can help in our healing process. We need to be forgiven first of our sin against love—our inability to love ourselves and to accept that God loves us. Only God’s forgiving love can enable us to move forward.
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