The Gospel Today
Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing.
And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence.
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.”
Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies?
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God.
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”
Reflection (Sem. Dondon O. Dimaano Jr.)
Three Fs would give us a summary of the Gospel reading today: Faith, Friends and Forgiveness. Jesus heals the paralyzed man, showing that He indeed has authority to forgive sins. We can surmise that for healing to happen, there must first be forgiveness. Faith makes it happen and in this narrative, the concern from friends paved the way for the miracle.
In the past semester, I was diagnosed to have kidney stones and the medical procedures and interventions were really hard to bear. It was difficult for me to move; thus, I was not able to join Sports activities and in addition to that, I had to walk slowly and had to be always conscious of what I eat. Sometimes, I cannot make sense anymore of what was happening.
Looking at things with the eyes of faith, there is one that needs to be given attention and that is spiritual paralysis: a situation where one is hindered by his own sinfulness, self-centeredness and incapacity to choose to live a new life and change for the better.
I realized that physical illness has its own cure, and so are those that afflict the spirit and that is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Once a month here in the seminary, I submit myself to this Sacrament of love and mercy, a form of restoration of friendship with Jesus, who always forgives and awaits for my coming.
In the end, the soul is healed and makes its way to also bestow forgiveness as it has freely received. That’s what God’s authority can do. Jesus is Lord and since He is such, He can do marvelous healings in me, as long as I acknowledge and give him authority over my life. Only then will it be possible for me to “[see] strange things today”(Luke 5:26).