Monday of 2nd week of Advent lundi de la 2e semaine de l’Avent

“’To prove to you that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ -he said to the paralyzed man- ’ I order you, get up and pick up your stretcher and go home.’”
Tuesday 17 March 2015 — Latest update Tuesday 17 November 2015

Is.35,1-10 Ps.84 Lk.5,17-26

Monday of 2nd week of Advent “Now it happened that one day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the Law, who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was there for him to heal. And now some men appeared, bringing on a bed a paralyzed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him.”

Under the sign of healing - this is how Jesus begins his ministry. Healings are the sign of God’s Coming and of the Salvation of mankind. God became man in order to come and save humanity from its main illness : sin, being far from God, the incapacity to love.

The gospel of Mercy manifests Jesus’ compassion for all men and women of the earth. Often there is a link made between spiritual healing and physical healing :

’Now you are healed. Sin no more, so that nothing worse will happen to you.’

There is a very strong link between the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of our being. Jesus announces the Coming of the Kingdom and he says what he does and does what he says. The healing in itself is a teaching, and even more so, a forgiveness. In this gospel four men are bearing the stretcher. Elsewhere Mark had already signaled that Jesus had called four disciples. These four men might have been Jesus’ four disciples who had sought out their paralyzed friend for Jesus to exert on him this powerful work :

“Seeing their faith…”

It is by the faith of those bearing this sick man that it’s a matter of in this gospel passage. Faith was able to communicate to this paralyzed man :’ Believe, trust, hope.’

We have seen Jesus act! We are in this period of waiting in Advent. We do indeed believed that Jesus is the Saviour of the world. But we are still in need of a renewed faith in the Help of God, He who is so close to us!

“But as they could find no way for getting the man through the crowd, they went up on to the top of the house and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, he said ’Your sins are forgiven.”

Here is something surprising : Jesus doesn’t heal the handicap, but before all else he forgives sins : the paralytic must have been surprised, indeed he must have been disappointed, he who had just gone through all sorts of complicated situations in order to get healed. But Jesus begins by what is essential. He is of course going to heal him, but first of all from the inside. All healings are at the same time the consequence and the sign of this fundamental healing that forgiveness is, the only source of relationship between God and mankind.The sign of the healing of the paralytic is the sign of what the true miracle is : forgiveness.The Pharisees and scribes are shocked at Jesus’ words for, ’God alone can forgive sins.’

Jesus makes it clear that forgiveness of sins and the permission given to the paralytic to get up and walk, flow forth from the same divine strength of healing : the first is a getting up, an inner liberation; the second is a getting up, a physiological liberation.

“So Jesus says : ’ What is easier to say : your sins are forgiven, or else, get up and walk?’ But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgiven sins ’ -he said to the paralytic- ’ I order you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’”

The reality of sacramental forgiveness is significant here. The evangelist brings to the fore what the Community is in need of : ’ That God has given such a power ’to’ men!’ The use of the plural tense does indeed give the meaning of the power of Love expressed in the Church’s Sacrament of reconciliation . The priest says ’And I, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit forgive all your sins.’ It is Jesus Himself in Person who acts through the person of the priest.

“The man got up, picked up his stretcher and went home praising God.”

It is not just the faith of the paralytic that incites Jesus’ intervention, but also the faith within the whole group. When we enter into the world of God and His way of acting towards mankind, we enter into a universe that goes beyond our immediate human understanding. As we go through these passages in our lives we are not alone, for Jesus accompanies us on our way. He teaches us and

fortifies us, for in Him there is a way out that leads us to our truth, to our freedom. He comes to lead us to the fullness of the human being. Jesus comes to teach us how to find his source once more, how to be linked to the Father, how to fulfill in his condition of the Son of God by assuming his humanity right to the end. By letting the Holy Spirit dwell within us.

The paralytic was awoken and he got up. It is a grace of resurrection, of regeneration that penetrates this man who was paralysed. He is born to a new life, a life of a free man. For the paralytic, forgiveness and healing are a way of getting up again. They recreate him, allowing him to participate in the strength of the life of Christ. It is a certain resurrection : from now on he is called to live a new life. He finds his autonomy once again, the possibility to earn his life. He will no longer be dependent. His life ought also to be renewed from the inside. The paralytic doesn’t leave his stretcher at that place where he received healing, he takes it with him. For us, this might mean that once healed, we carry with us some traces of the illness or handicap we bore : perhaps the scars will still hurt a little. But these scars are also like a trophy of the victory! Jesus, after his Resurrection, showed himself with the wounds of his Passion: ’They gave glory to God who has given such a power to men.’

Thanksgiving is a fundamental aspect to have for the life of a Christian.

We ask for a great faith in Jesus.