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By Congregation for the Clergy

2/19/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

By healing the paralytic Jesus shows how the forgiven person is truly recreated and restored to new life.

Jesus heals the paralytic in order to confirm this radical novelty that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.  In this way, the inner healing that is required for the forgiveness of sin is also associated with physical healing.  It gives perfect expression to the entirety of forgiveness which involves the whole person: the body is freed from the disease just as the spirit is freed from sin.

Healing and forgiveness are connected

Healing and forgiveness are connected

Article Highlights

By Congregation for the Clergy

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/19/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Paralytic, confession, penance, repentance, healing, Vatican, Congregation for the Clergy


ROME, Italy (Catholic Online) - The Prophet Isaiah presents us with an image of a God who forgives the sins of his people in a radical way, by cancelling them out permanently, remembering them no more. 

This 'divine capacity' expresses his will to forgive totally, which is so typical of God's love.  In this way the person is totally recreated.  By forgiving, God makes all things new, as if he were making a path through the desert and sending springs of living water to flow along it.

The first reading reveals the fundamental meaning of the Gospel story.  Mark describes the scene of the paralytic who, in order to meet Jesus, had to be lowered from the roof of the house where the Lord was preaching.

Jesus is struck by this demonstration of faith but he does not immediately heal the man physically.  Instead he says to paralytic: 'my child, your sins are forgiven,' thereby performing an act of much greater value than any physical healing.

This aroused the indignation of the scribes who were present.  They cried out 'he is blaspheming!' because 'only God' can forgive sins - as solemnly affirmed by the passage from Isaiah. 

Jesus, by remitting the man's sins, and affirming that they can be remitted, places Himself on an equal footing with God, revealing Himself as God.  It is a theophany of Christ!

The actual healing only occurs later, apparently determined by the scandalous attitude of the scribes.  

Jesus heals the paralytic in order to confirm this radical novelty that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.  In this way, the inner healing that is required for the forgiveness of sin is also associated with physical healing.  It gives perfect expression to the entirety of forgiveness which involves the whole person: the body is freed from the disease just as the spirit is freed from sin.

By healing the paralytic Jesus shows how the forgiven person is truly recreated and restored to new life.

The Lord's action also highlights the faith of the paralytics 'group of friends' who, together, present an moving image of the Church.  The force of the faith and the testimony of each of us, sustains the healing of our brothers.  It is in authentic communion that is the real 'theological and spiritual place' where the Lord works miracles of healing and forgiveness.

Today's liturgy is like a great hymn in praise of God's forgiveness; the 'new creation' brought about by Christ the Lord and the possibility of new life he offers to each one of us.  This touches us deeply, especially in the radical forgiveness which God continues to give today, through the Church, to all his children.

May Mary, Mother of Mercy, sustain each of us in a firm faith in the Lord's Divine Mercy: that mercy which is the mystery of love freely given to all those who humbly implore it.


Citations of
Is 43,18-19.21-22.24b-25: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9a10f1bk.htm 
 www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9bfc0zbk.htm   
2Co 1,18-22: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9a10zda.htm  
Mc 2,1-12: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9abttlb.htm  
 

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