Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gospel for Friday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 2:1-12

The Curing of a Paralytic
[1] And when He (Jesus) returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. [2] And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and He was preaching the word to them. [3] And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men. [4] And when they could not get near Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. [5] And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." [6] Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, [7] "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" [8] And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts? [9] Which is easier to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise, take up your pallet and walk?' [10] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-- He said to the paralytic-- [11] "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." [12] And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"

4. Many Jewish houses had a terraced roof accessible by steps at the back. The same structure can be found even today.

5. Here Jesus emphasizes the connection between faith and the forgiveness of sins. The boldness of the people who brought in the paralytic shows their faith in Christ, and this faith moves Jesus to forgive the man's sins. We should question how God views our faith: the faith of these people leads to the instantaneous physical and spiritual curing of this man. We should notice also that one person's need can be helped by the merits of another.

In this man's physical paralysis, St. Jerome sees a type or figure of spiritual paralysis: the cripple was unable to return to God by his own efforts. Jesus, God and man, cured him of both kinds of paralysis (cf. "Comm. in Marcum, in loc."). Cf. notes on Matthew 9:2-7.

Jesus' words to the paralytic--"Your sins are forgiven"--reflect the fact that his pardon involves a personal encounter with Christ; the same happens in the Sacrament of Penance: "In faithfully observing the centuries-old practice of the Sacrament of Penance--the practice of individual confession with a personal act of sorrow and an intention to amend and make satisfaction--the Church is defending the human soul's individual right, man's right to a more personal encounter with the crucified forgiving Christ, with Christ saying, through the minister of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: `Your sins are forgiven'; `Go, and do not sin again' (John 8:11). As is evident, this is also a right on Christ's part with regard to every human being in the soul's life constituted by the moment of conversion and forgiveness" (John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 20).

7-12. Here we find a number of indicators of Jesus' divinity: He forgives sins, He can read the human heart and has the power to instantly cure physical illnesses. The scribes know that only God can forgive sins. This is why they take issue with Our Lord's statement and call it blasphemous. They require a sign to prove the truth of what He says. And Jesus offers them a sign. Thus just as no one can deny that the paralytic has been cured, so no one can reasonably deny that he has been forgiven his sins. Christ, God and man, exercised power to forgive sins and, in His infinite mercy, He chose to extend this power to His Church. Cf. note on Matthew 9:3-7.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

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