JAN. 15. ORDINARY TIME. (B) WK.1. FRI. MK. 2. 1-12
Updated: Aug 22
When Jesus returned to Capernaum, word went round that he was back; and so many people collected that there was no room left, even in front of the door. He was preaching the word to them when some people came bringing him a paralytic carried by four men, but as the crowd made it impossible to get the man to him, they stripped the roof over the place where Jesus was; and when they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic lay. 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 blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God?’ Jesus, inwardly aware that this was 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 on earth to forgive sins,’ – he turned to the paralytic – ‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.’ And the man got up, picked up his stretcher at once and walked out in front of everyone, so that they were all astounded and praised God saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’
“So many people collected that there was no room left, even in front of the door.” How times have changed since Jesus dwelled amongst us? How the interest has waned in 2021, when it is difficult for our churches to be even half full to hear the teaching of Christ, or to acknowledge the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, or to offer him prayer and adoration?
And this is despite the fact he proved, by multiple miracles (in addition to the one in today’s reading) that he was God; - with the ultimate miracle, and proof of his divinity, being his resurrection after his crucifixion on Calvary?
And in today’s Gospel the miracle addresses a particular gift all of God’s People know in their hearts they are in desperate need of, namely the forgiveness of our sins: - “to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he turned to the paralytic – ‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.’ And the man got up, picked up his stretcher at once and walked out in front of everyone, so that they were all astounded and praised God saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’”
Why has Christ been abandoned by his people after having done so much for them? Are we scared of him? Has he threatened us? Has he not done enough for us? Has he not cared for us enough? Has he not demonstrated his Divine Love or his Divine Mercy?
It is obvious the reason is revealed in today’s Gospel: “Some scribes were sitting there, and they thought to themselves, ‘How can this man talk like that? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God?’ The problem is clearly, and simply, a lack of Faith in the Love and Mercy and Power of God! The creature refusing to believe what was revealed by his Creator!
Like the scribes we do not believe the truths Christ has revealed to us; - and we do this despite the multiple miracles he performed to demonstrate his Power, his Mercy and his Love! This lack of Faith is difficult to understand given everything God has done for us; - but what it also reveals is how precious is the Gift of Faith, how fortunate are those to whom it has been given; - and how important it is to nurture, protect and deepen it via Prayer, Charity and Sacrament?
And the most astounding truth of all; - We have done nothing to deserve such a wonderful gift!
Gospel Acclamation Lk7:16
A great prophet has appeared among us;
God has visited his people.
First reading Hebrews 3:7-14 · Keep encouraging one another
The Holy Spirit says: If only you would listen to him today; do not harden your hearts, as happened in the Rebellion, on the Day of Temptation in the wilderness, when your ancestors challenged me and tested me, though they had seen what I could do for forty years. That was why I was angry with that generation and said: How unreliable these people who refuse to grasp my ways! And so, in anger, I swore that not one would reach the place of rest I had for them. Take care, brothers, that there is not in any one of your community a wicked mind, so unbelieving as to turn away from the living God. Every day, as long as this ‘today’ lasts, keep encouraging one another so that none of you is hardened by the lure of sin, because we shall remain co-heirs with Christ only if we keep a grasp on our first confidence right to the end.