January 16, 2015

The Gospel Today

Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Mark 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
“Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
Reflection (Sem.  Jonathan Cigaral):

“Unable to get near to Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above.  After they have broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, ‘Child, your sins our forgiven.’” Mk 2:4-5

The passage clearly emphasizes the relation between faith and forgiveness.  It was the persevering faith of the friends of the paralytic which compelled Jesus to forgive the sins of the paralytic man.  The faith of these men did not just cause the healing of the physical infirmity of the paralytic but also more importantly he was healed in his soul through the forgiveness of his sins.

Sometimes in our life, it is those who are closest to us who helps us come near to God to ask for repentance and forgiveness.  Sadly, we sometimes tend to ignore them and treat them as insignificant part of our life.  Later on we realize that these are the same people who can be considered as true friends who can help us find our way back to God.  Before I entered the seminary, I was living in a life of worldly allurements.  My old ways and actions made me spiritually paralyzed.  But when I heard God’s voice calling me to follow Him, I immediately said my “yes’ without hesitation despite the comfortable life which I was enjoying.  Along the process of my discernment, I thought to myself that I needed to go to confession to somehow lighten my baggage full of sins.  However, hesitation and doubt set-in.  I felt so ashamed to open-up all my sins to a priest.  I had second thoughts of pursuing my plans to confess.  But God does things in His own mysterious ways.  He tapped a person close to me who gave me the courage to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.  “Unable to get near to Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above. ” My hesitation, shamefulness, and doubt are those that almost hindered me to come closer to Jesus.  I have been disabled by my sinfulness and there I was allowing my inner disturbances to hinder my way closer to Jesus.  But my friend opened up the “roof above” for me to be able to go through confession.  And with that, I was forgiven.

In our Gospel, Jesus is telling us that forgiveness from our sins is always possible for those who really long for it.  Despite our disabilities to approach Him, He uses other people to help us find our way to Jesus Christ.  Let us always open ourselves to those people who can open up the “roof above” for us to be able to come closer to Him.

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