Thursday 3 December 2015

Friday of 1st week, even numbered year Vendredi de la 1e semaine, année paire

“Jesus said to him : ’Your sins are forgiven.”

1 S 8,4-7.10-22a Ps.88 Mk.2,1-12

Friday of 1st Week, even numbered year

“When Jesus returned to Capernaum, word went round that he was in the house; and so many collected that there was no more room left, even in front of the door. He was preaching the word to them when some people came bringing a paralytic to him , carried by four men. As they could not get the man to him through the crowd, they stripped the roof over the place where Jesus was, and when they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the man lay.”

Jesus is someone who goes into action and this ought to bring us great hope as we enter into Salvation. We are invited to turn our gaze towards Him like these people crowding around Him in Caparnaum.Many who come to him are struck down with all kinds of sicknesses and they are hoping to be healed by Him. On this day of intense movement, there comes a paralytic laying on a stretcher, carried along by four men.Pulled onto the roof made of clay and branches, they make a hole in it and lower him down at Jesus’ feet. This paralytic has the extraordinary fortune to be healed by Jesus. This is not a parable, but a true event that really did occur. Jesus is there before physical and moral sickness. Jesus has already chosen his first four disciples! Is there a link between them and these four men who bring the paralytic to him? ’Seeing their faith’ says Jesus, he disciples know that Jesus can do that , heal this man. God comes to our help. This Word proposes we go towards suffering humanity and bring it to Him. We can today bring to Jesus all the distress in the world in the Paschal Mastery.

“Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ’My child, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some scribes were sitting there and they thought to themselves, ’How can this man talk like that? He is being blasphemous. Who but God can forgive sins?’ And Jesus, at once inwardly aware of what they were thinking, said to them ’Why do you have these thoughts in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say to the paralytic ’Your sins are forgiven ’or to say ’’Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk’ ? But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority to forgive sins on earth’ he said tot he paralytic ’I order you, get up, pick up your stretcher and go off home.”

Jesus says a word that will disturb those listening to him !’My son, your sins are forgiven.’ These words come unexpectedly for the paralytic who was expecting rather physical healing. The crowd was certainly waiting for a healing that would be something spectacular. By healing this paralytic, Jesus brought the ’proof’ that he had the power to forgive sins. Healing the body is one thing, freeing the soul of sin is another. Absolution for faults and healing of a body are two different things, coming form distinctive realities : one is spiritual,the other psychosomatic. Jesus takes into account the relationship with the crowd around him, he doesn’t respond directly to what is asked of him, he puts things in the right order. He places inner healing before physical healing. Very delicately, Jesus joins this man’s intimacy first of all : ’My son.’ He reaches the deepest part of his being with gentleness, to touch and heal what is fundamentally in man’s heart. The liberation of this paralysed man bursts forth from the Heart of Jesus, from the vivifying Love of God that goes through Him. This action done by Jesus provokes criticism, but this power given ’to men’ is at the same time the power of reconciliation which we are all in need of - from our brothers and also the power from sacramental forgiveness given by the priest.

“And the man got up and at once picked up his stretcher and walked out in front of everyone, so that they were all astonished and praised God by saying ’We have never seen anything like this.”

Jesus says quite clearly ’So that you know that the Son of man has the power to forgive sins’ Jesus invites us to go from contestation of the announced miracle to faith in the forgiveness of sins. Reconciliation between this man and God does of course remain invisible, but it is worthy of faith, since it is brought about by this same Word that accomplished the miraculous healing. The demonstration bears fruit ! ’They were all amazed.’ saying ’We’ve never seen anything like it.’

Jesus came amongst us to do a work of re-creation., to reconcile us to God Hs Father. Jesus didn’t respond first of all to the demand of healing, for he wanted to situate straight away his action on a level of what is essential and definitive. At each Eucharist we say to Jesus: ’ Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.’ We confess how unworthy we are to receive him, but he only has to say one word to heal us. This Word manifests how keen Jesus is to heal the heart of this paralytic. His stretcher is the visible proof of this double miracle

Jesus performs. God’s marvellous goodness goes first of all to what is most essential, to our heart, it is the loveliest of liberations! Then Jesus frees all of the dimensions in our being! All that we are can then give glory to God. And so we remain in God’s Love so as to remain in the freedom of the children of God.

We ask for the grace to bring to Jesus in the Eucharist all those people who in the world are disfigured.