DEC. 7. ADVENT. WK 2. (B) MON. LK. 5. 17-26.
Jesus was teaching one day, and among the audience there were Pharisees and doctors of the Law who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and from Jerusalem. And the Power of the Lord was behind his works of healing. Then some men appeared, carrying on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him. But as the crowd made it impossible to find a way of getting him in, they went up on to the flat roof 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, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. ‘Who is this man talking blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made them this reply, ‘What are these thoughts you have in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven you” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralysed man – ‘I order you: get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’ And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
They were all astounded and praised God, and were filled with awe.
The primary lesson of this reading is the importance of Faith! While Christ had many aims while on earth the promotion of Faith within his followers must be one of his primary goals?
The reason is the demands God expects of his people, such as: humility, obedience, charity, self-denial, belief in the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confession, the need of Prayer, the value of suffering; - and especially; - belief in Christ’s Divinity and Kingship, despite his Passion and Death! Faith is a pre-requisite for all these activities, and many more.
Faith is at the very heart of being a Christian, in fact Christianity cannot exist without Faith in the words and teachings of Christ, and it would be impossible to pray unless one was first and foremost a person of Faith.
In this reading Christ illustrated this need, and his admiration of the actions of the paralysed man: - “Seeing their faith he said, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’. Not only was he pleased with the man’s action, but he went on to tell him that; - because of his Faith; - his sins were also forgiven!
For those without Faith, such as the scribes and Pharisees, Christ’s teachings lacked evidence, which lead to the unbelievers thinking and saying; “Who is this man talking blasphemy? -Who can forgive sins but God alone?’; - a situation Christ used to demonstrate the Truth of what he was proclaiming and teaching!
“To prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralysed man – ‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher and go home.’- And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God!”
And even today, as people of Faith, we continue to look to Christ’s miracles, particularly the Resurrection, to provide the “proof” of what we believe and to support our efforts to maintain and deepen an intimate relationship with God through Prayer, Sacrament and Obedience!
Now we must “live” the Faith we “believe”; - as this is the Christian Mission and Vocation!