On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 5, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How can we not rejoice when our Lord in His mercy forgives and liberates the burden of sin from our hearts! For only then can we truly praise and worship Him as we should. Only then are our hearts set free to love others as we should.

Hence sisters and brothers Jesus came for this very reason, for God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. So why wait for a penitential service, go now as soon as possible for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and meet with Jesus who is patiently waiting to love and set you free. Courage! Do not be afraid, He has come to save you.

Then together as One with and in Him we will rejoice and sing for joy! Joy and gladness will follow us wherever we go, sorrow and lament will be ended. Amen

________

First reading

Isaiah 35:1-10 ·

The return of the redeemed through the desert

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult,

let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,

let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,

let it rejoice and sing for joy.

The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,

the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;

they shall see the glory of the Lord,

the splendour of our God.

Strengthen all weary hands,

steady all trembling knees

and say to all faint hearts,

‘Courage! Do not be afraid.

‘Look, your God is coming,

vengeance is coming,

the retribution of God;

he is coming to save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

the ears of the deaf unsealed,

then the lame shall leap like a deer

and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy;

for water gushes in the desert,

streams in the wasteland,

the scorched earth becomes a lake,

the parched land springs of water.

The lairs where the jackals used to live

become thickets of reed and papyrus…

And through it will run a highway undefiled

which shall be called the Sacred Way;

the unclean may not travel by it,

nor fools stray along it.

No lion will be there

nor any fierce beast roam about it,

but the redeemed will walk there,

for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.

They will come to Zion shouting for joy,

everlasting joy on their faces;

joy and gladness will go with them

and sorrow and lament be ended.

________

Gospel

Luke 5:17-26

‘Your sins are forgiven you: get up and walk’

Jesus was teaching one day, and among the audience there were Pharisees and doctors of the Law who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and from Jerusalem. And the Power of the Lord was behind his works of healing. Then some men appeared, carrying on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him. But as the crowd made it impossible to find a way of getting him in, they went up on to the flat roof and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith he said, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. ‘Who is this man talking blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made them this reply, ‘What are these thoughts you have in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven you” 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 paralysed man – ‘I order you: get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’ And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God.

    They were all astounded and praised God, and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’

The houses so far unearthed at Capernaum are tiny enclosures, built of stone, huddled higgledy-piggledy together in the warm lakeside village. As the crowd was blocking the door Mark says that the sick man’s companions simply dug a hole in the roof, presumably thin slats of timber and palm-leaves, designed to keep off the sun rather than the rare rain. Luke, coming from a more sophisticated society, thinks of roof tiles to be taken off.

    The striking part of the healing is not the physical cure but the forgiveness of sins inserted in the middle of the story. In the Gospels ‘paralytic’ means not someone cramped immobile into a distorted position, but only someone bed-ridden. The physical healing is merely the proof-by-parallel that the sins have been forgiven. This is what shocks the on-looking Pharisees and especially their legal members, the ‘scribes’, who were literate and so could read the Law and discuss it. Quite apart from the Law, it stands to reason that only God can forgive sin. Indeed, to forgive is almost God’s chief prerogative. The meaning of his sacred Name, too holy and too intimate to be pronounced, had been revealed to Moses in Exodus 34 as ‘God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in faithful love and constancy, forgiving fault, crime and sin.’ They knew their Bible, and to see the man standing before them claim to do just this must have been stunning. The Gospel has already shown Jesus acting with outstanding authority, but now he implies a claim to an authority specifically divine. He forgives sin with just the same sweeping authority with which he tells the man to pick up his sleeping-mat.

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