(Mt 9: 1-8)
After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
“This man is blaspheming.”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
“Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he then said to the paralytic,
“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.
The Jews believed that there is a direct correlation between sin and bodily illness. This was one of the reasons why in the Old Testament sacrifices were offered as peace offerings intended to heal broken relationships with God. By forgiving the sins of the paralyzed man, Jesus intended to restore him to good health physically and spiritually. As someone observed, for Jesus “forgiveness is the key to healing and faith is the key to forgiveness.” While we can not conclude that healthy people are necessarily more saintly, it cannot be denied that a sinful lifestyle affects a person’s general well-being. Sinfulness inevitably disturbs our relationships-with ourselves, with other people, with the world and with God. Sin has a tremendous impact on our self-esteem and self-confidence. When we are in sin a sense of shame and guilt affects our relationship with other and with God.
Our personal experiences tell us that some of the blessings of the Sacrament of Penance include serenity, peace of mind and a more positive disposition in our relationship with others. It is in this sacrament that we experience concretely and deeply the mercy and compassion of God.
Daily Gospel 2017