Thursday, July 2, 2015
Extend your mercy towards others, for what hope is there for us if God should withdraw His Mercy from us?
Jesus' attitude is striking: we do not hear the words of scorn, we do not hear words of condemnation, but only words of love, of mercy, which are an invitation to conversation. "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again." Ah! Brothers and Sisters, God's face is the face of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God's patience, the patience He has with each one of us? That is His mercy. He always has patience, patience with us, He understands us, He waits for us, He does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to Him with a contrite heart. "Great is God's mercy," says the Psalm. – Pope Francis: (Angelus on March 17, 2013)
Gospel Text: (Matthew 9:1-8)
After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
“This man is blaspheming.”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
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 then said to the paralytic,
“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.
Today's Gospel is another instance of the Savior’s mercy, in two different aspects at the same time: the illness of the body and the sickness of the soul. And, the soul being more important Jesus starts with it. He knows the sick man has repented of his faults, He sees his faith and that of those bringing him, and says: «Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven» (Mt 9:2).
Why does He start like this without his having been asked to do so? He is, of course, aware of what the paralytic is thinking and He knows this is what he will appreciate the most, for when facing the sanctity of Jesus, the paralytic might feel confused and ashamed of his own faults and scared that they may hamper his healing. So the Lord wants to calm him first. Jesus does not care whether some teachers of the law murmur in their hearts. Not only, but a part of his message is to prove He has come to show his mercy towards sinners, and He now proclaims it.
And so, it happens that, while those blinded by their pride, think of themselves as if they were the only just ones and cannot accept Jesus' claim, those that sincerely consider themselves as sinners, do take Him in. It is towards those God condescends to forgive them. As St. Augustine says: «Great misery falls upon a proud man, but for the humble, God's mercy is great». And, in this case, the divine mercy goes even further: as an additional complement of his forgiveness He heals the paralytic too: «Stand up! Take your stretcher and go home» (Mt 9:6). Jesus wants the sinner's joy to be complete.
We must reaffirm our confidence in him. But, we should remember we are also sinners, so let us not close ourselves to his Grace.
Posted by Joe Reciniello at 6:16 AM