JULY 1. Ord Time B. Wk. 13. Thu. Mt. 9. 1-8
Updated: Sep 10
Jesus got in the boat, crossed the water and came to his own town. Then some people appeared, bringing him a paralytic stretched out on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven.’ And at this some scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ Knowing what was in their minds Jesus said, ‘Why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts? Now, which of these is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” 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 paralytic – ‘get up, and pick up your bed and go off home.’ And the man got up and went home. A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this, and they praised God for giving such power to men.
In this reading Christ takes an unusual approach to a paralytic who comes to him with Faith, in that rather than curing his body, he says to him; - “Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven!”
I wonder if this was because the man’s faith was so strong that this is what he wanted himself; - or was it because Jesus wanted to show us that he saw the forgiveness of the man’s sins as the priority over the curing of his paralysis?
Or was it in order to “trap” the scribes into revealing their lack of Faith when they said, “This man is blaspheming!” It is interesting to note that Christ then went on to tell us that he “Knew what was in their minds” and so he went on and asked them; - “Why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts?”
Given that he came among his people as a teacher I think the lesson, not only for the scribes but for all People of Faith was both; - to highlight the reluctance of the scribes, and many others, to believe in his teachings; - and to also educate us that we should see the health of our soul as the priority over our physical or material needs.
This attitude to our material needs does not come easily to us, because we have this inbuilt desire to want God to satisfy or remove both our needs and difficulties which he has bestowed on us out of love!
And if he accedes to these desires, we see ourselves as being “blessed by God”; - but Christ’s teaching in today’s Gospel was that our needs and difficulties should not be seen as our first priority; - but rather this should be state of our soul before God!
And was this not a consistent teaching throughout his life, where he endured suffering in order to bear witness to his love of sinners; - and also in order to make reparation for sin; - with his Passion and Death on Calvary being the ultimate witness to this same teaching?
And because suffering served these valuable purposes, Christ not only endured his sufferings and death, but he embraced them willingly; - because of their redemptive and atonement value towards both God and sinners.
Maybe the reason the paralytic in today’s Gospel did not have his physical ailments cured initially was because his concern was more for the state of his soul than for his bodily needs?
But if this was the case, he would have belonged in a very small group of believers who see their sufferings as an opportunity to atone for their sins; - something we are all invited to do!
Gospel Acclamation 2Cor5:19
God was in Christ, to reconcile the world to himself;
and the Good News of reconciliation he has entrusted to us.
First reading Genesis 22:1-19 The sacrifice of Isaac
God put Abraham to the test. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he called. ‘Here I am’ he replied. ‘Take your son,’ God said ‘your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you.’
Rising early next morning Abraham saddled his ass and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He chopped wood for the burnt offering and started on his journey to the place God had pointed out to him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. Then Abraham said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there; we will worship and come back to you.’
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, loaded it on Isaac, and carried in his own hands the fire and the knife. Then the two of them set out together. Isaac spoke to his father Abraham, ‘Father’ he said. ‘Yes, my son’ he replied. ‘Look,’ he said ‘here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘My son, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.’ Then the two of them went on together.
When they arrived at the place God had pointed out to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son Isaac and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he said. ‘I am here’ he replied. ‘Do not raise your hand against the boy’ the angel said. ‘Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your son, your only son.’ Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt-offering in place of his son. Abraham called this place ‘The Lord Provides’, and hence the saying today: On the mountain the Lord provides.
The angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven. ‘I swear by my own self – it is the Lord who speaks – because you have done this, because you have not refused me your son, your only son, I will shower blessings on you, I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants shall gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.’
Abraham went back to his servants, and together they set out for Beersheba, and he settled in Beersheba.