Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 19th, 2012 – Year B

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Dear Friends,

If one considers, along with today’s Gospel, the reading from the prophet Isaiah, and the Responsorial Psalm, then clearly the theme which emerges is that of healing. The psalmist asks that our souls be healed. Isaiah points out that God heals us spiritually, even when we are unaware of and might not even desire such healing.

In today’s Gospel, if we look closely, Jesus heals on two levels. First, moved by the faith of his friends, Jesus heals the paralytic. He physically heals the man. But the scribes, apparently believing in the maxim that “no good deed should go unpunished,” challenge Jesus’ actions, words, and motives.

The scribes, not Jesus, link physical infirmity with sin. Jesus, throughout his ministry, rebukes such a notion. However, Jesus knows that the scribes are right about one thing: Only God can forgive sin. That is, only God can heal our souls. The scribes, like all of us, are impressed by someone who can heal physical infirmity. But Jesus goes much further. He takes this opportunity to demonstrate his authority over sin and thus reveal his relationship to the Father.

The paralytic who is at the centre of the story never says a word. We know nothing about him except two very important things. Jesus healed the man physically. And Jesus healed him spiritually – He forgave the man’s sins.

Today’s readings pose, to each of us, the question: What do I want Jesus to heal in my life? What area of my life is withered and needs new life?

That is why we gather week after week to celebrate the Eucharist. We come so that we might joyfully receive this bread from heaven, this bread that heals our withered hearts. As we receive this Eucharist, let us pray for the grace and the courage to desire and accept God’s healing.

“Heal me, O Lord, for I have sinned against you.”
(Psalm 41)