Thursday July 2, 2020
Readings: Amos 7: 10 -17, Responsorial Psalm 19, Gospel: Matthew 9: 1 -8
In the Gospel, there are no ‘throw-away’ miracles; every wonder worked by Jesus has a teaching point – nowhere more so than with this cure of the paralytic. There are two miracles that happen here. One is physical and one is spiritual. The spiritual one is that this man’s sins are forgiven. The physical one is the healing of his paralysis.
The scribes thought that Jesus was blaspheming when he declared that the paralytic’s sins had been forgiven. Yet at the end, the crowds glorified God who had given such authority to human beings. I too thank God for giving this power to the Church, for the great privilege of having my sins forgiven through the sacrament of penance.
Some people today look on Jesus as having been no more than an admirable human being and teacher. But in this scene, not only does Jesus set out to show his original audience that there’s more to him than this – he almost seems to be reaching out to ourselves, over the centuries, to cure us too of any such ideas.
With the paralytic, he doesn’t just perform a miracle of healing. He lays down a claim beforehand – and then the miracles is to be the proof that backs up the claim. The people of that time had no illusions about the claim that Jesus was making : either he was going to act through God’s power – or he was blaspheming (a crime for which offenders could pay with their lives).
Jesus was more than a teacher or preacher he was also a worker of miracles. Further again, however, he was much more than just a wandering preacher to whom God might have given the gift of healing. He was on earth to give us a living, first-hand demonstration – both through his words and his ‘works’ – of what the God of heaven is actually like.
The crowds “glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings”. In fact, the gap between God and human beings had been narrowed. The standing-room-only crowd looked up and saw chinks of light as the roof-tiles were removed to make way for the stretcher – But ‘sky-blue’ totally new thinking would next have to penetrate.
Acknowledging our need for forgiveness takes courage, but this courage is a great virtue and reveals a great strength of character on our part. Coming to Jesus to seek His mercy and forgiveness in our lives is the most important prayer we can pray and the foundation of all the rest of our prayers.
Reflect, today, upon how courageous you are in asking God for forgiveness and how humbly you are willing to acknowledge your sin. Making an act of humility like this is one of the most important things you can do.
God bless you. Have a blessed day.