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DEC. 7. ADVENT. WK 2. (B) MON. LK. 5. 17-26.

Updated: a day ago

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!


Gospel Acclamation Lk3:4,6


Alleluia, alleluia!

Behold, the king will come, the Lord of the earth;

and he will set us free.

Alleluia!


First reading Isaiah 35:1-10

The return of the redeemed through the desert



Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult,

let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,

let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,

let it rejoice and sing for joy.


The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,

the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;

they shall see the glory of the Lord,

the splendour of our God.


Strengthen all weary hands,

steady all trembling knees

and say to all faint hearts,

‘Courage! Do not be afraid.


‘Look, your God is coming,

vengeance is coming,

the retribution of God;

he is coming to save you.’


Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

the ears of the deaf unsealed,

then the lame shall leap like a deer

and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy;


for water gushes in the desert,

streams in the wasteland,

the scorched earth becomes a lake,

the parched land springs of water.


The lairs where the jackals used to live

become thickets of reed and papyrus...


And through it will run a highway undefiled

which shall be called the Sacred Way;

the unclean may not travel by it,

nor fools stray along it.


No lion will be there

nor any fierce beast roam about it,

but the redeemed will walk there,

for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.


They will come to Zion shouting for joy,

everlasting joy on their faces;

joy and gladness will go with them

and sorrow and lament be ended.

THE LESSONS FROM ISAIAH.


The transformation of the desert from an arid, life threatening place to a fertile, life-supporting place is a common biblical image of our salvation; - brought about by our Redeemer and Teacher; - Jesus Christ.


The desert is symbolic of today's modern world where God's people have turned away from acknowledging their creator; - turning it into a spiritual wilderness and a wasteland; - making the words of Isaiah particularly relevant for us today.


But as the Prophet remained full of optimism in difficult times; - Christians today are called to do the same; - ‘Courage! Do not be afraid. ‘Look, your God is coming, vengeance is coming, the retribution of God; - he is coming to save you!’


We must have Faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God; - the same message he proclaimed in today's Gospel; - putting our trust not in our own "wisdom" or "ability"; - but rather in our redeemer who taught the importance of Faith!


As today's Psalm tells us; - "Our God will come to save us"; - which is what Advent and Christmas are all about; - "The Lord will make us prosper and our earth shall yield its fruit. Justice shall march before him and peace shall follow his steps!"


But we must have Faith, not in ourselves, but in Christ, who cured the paralysed man; - and who dwells with us today in the Holy Eucharist!


Responsorial Psalm Psalm 84(85):9-14


Our God will come to save us!


I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

a voice that speaks of peace,

peace for his people.

His help is near for those who fear him

and his glory will dwell in our land.


Our God will come to save us!


Mercy and faithfulness have met;

justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

and justice look down from heaven.


Our God will come to save us!


The Lord will make us prosper

and our earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

and peace shall follow his steps.


Our God will come to save us!


PRAYER. Feast of St Ambrose.


O God, who made the Bishop Saint Ambrose

a teacher of the Catholic faith and a model of apostolic courage,

raise up in your Church men after your own heart

to govern her with courage and wisdom.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever.












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