The Gospel Today
Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
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. Gerald M. Moscardon)
Back in college, when I was pursuing my degree in business administration, I made my own dream board where all of my aspirations and ambitions in life would be represented by images or words. I would meticulously “plan” what to put in my dream board, so as to inspire myself in my pursuit of happiness and success.
Settling for mediocrity was not an option for me. I would put a cut-out picture of my dream car and my dream house. I placed words like “success” and “driven.” I even placed ideas for foundations I would like to put up to help other people.
My dreams were big and in retrospect, most of them were too bold and too grand to boot. Nevertheless, this dream board made me hungry for success and I made sure that all my actions and decisions would lead to that fulfilment. This dream board was my life plan but I left out something very important. I left out God’s plan and providence. I was too busy planning my life, analyzing every move for success and countermoves for failures.
Indeed, too much analysis led to paralysis. I was stuck in a rut of senseless ambitions. I was paralyzed from the promptings of God. I was so caught up with the rat race that I did not realize that life was more than just about the race and winning. It was also about surrendering – not the giving up on the journey, but giving in to God’s will.
The paralytic in today’s Gospel is the perfect example of not giving up on life, even though he is stricken by a debilitating sickness. Rather, he gives in to God’s will for him, by having tremendous faith in the healing power of Christ. This kind of faith is the one that heals both physical and spiritual paralysis.
Being in seminary formation, I always pray for the grace of seeking the will of the Holy Spirit for me. It is not easy but in my journey as a priest-in-process, I have to have the kind of faith the paralytic has for Jesus. The Gospel today also stresses one important message – God’s mercy. It is not only through our faith that we are healed from all our life’s “paralysis”. We also need the mercy and forgiveness of God to be healed.
My situation now as a priest-in-process is a testament to God’s loving mercy. I would not have been here without His mercy. I will always be thankful for His mercy and as a form of gratitude, the least I can do is to have unfaltering faith in His plans for me.
In the Jubilee of Mercy, let us come to the Father with unwavering faith and seek His forgiveness and compassion, for it is only by embracing His Mercy that true healing can happen.