Friday, January 14, 2011

The heart has reasons that reason does not understand

"Keep your heart pure. A pure heart is necessary to see God in each other. If you see God in each other, there is love for each other, then there is peace." Mother Teresa

Gospel text (Mk 2:1-12): Jesus returned to Capernaum. As the news spread that he was at home, so many people gathered that there was no longer room even outside the door.

While Jesus was preaching the Word to them, some people brought a paralyzed man to him. The four men who carried him couldn't get near Jesus because of the crowd, so they opened the roof above the room where Jesus was and, through the hole, lowered the man on his mat. When Jesus saw the faith of these people, he said to the paralytic, «My son, your sins are forgiven».

Now, some teachers of the Law who were sitting there wondered within themselves, «How can he speak like this insulting God? Who can forgive sins except God?».

At once Jesus knew through his spirit what they were thinking and asked, «Why do you wonder? Is it easier to say to this paralyzed man: ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or to say: ‘Rise, take up your mat and walk?’ But now you shall know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins». And he said to the paralytic, «Stand up, take up your mat and go home».

The man rose and, in the sight of all those people, he took up his mat and went out. All of them were astonished and praised God saying, «We have never seen anything like this!».

Today, we see the Lord surrounded once more by crowds: «so many people gathered that there was no longer room even outside the door» (Mk 2:2). His heart is melted by people's needs and makes him to bestow upon them as much relief as possible; by forgiving, teaching and healing them at the same time. He certainly offers them physical help (as in today's parable, by curing the paralytic), but —actually— He is intent on getting the very best for each one of us: the well-being of our soul.

Fortunately, the supporters of the physically impaired men in the Gospel did not give up but found a creative way to bring him to Christ’s attention. And Christ showed his divinity by forgiving him his sins and underscored his divine authority by healing the man. While the reading guides our attention to Christ’s divine powers, the reading also says something about the Church. For it is only through the Church that we can revive this miracle, often, through the Sacrament of Confession. With the words of forgiveness said by the minister of God («I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit») Jesus —discreetly— accords us once more the external guarantee of remission of our sins, a guarantee that is tantamount to the spectacular cure of the paralytic of Capernaum.

In addition, keep in mind that sometimes within the Church, we lose sight of what is going on around us and we forget that it is our mission to be witnesses of the Good News. Instead, we sometimes overlook the human suffering around us. We forget Christ’s preferential option for the marginalized and suffering. None will deny that it is important to focus on Christ and be united in faith when we gather for religious services and pray together. The reading from the letter to the Hebrews makes this very clear: “But the word that they heard did not profit them, for they were not united in faith with those who listened.” (Heb 4:5) However, it is also important to put our eyes on the world around us: listening to Christ and being united in faith with each other should sharpen our eyes to see the human suffering around us, to increase our desire to alleviate it, and to commit ourselves to serve the marginalized in our society and globally.

Let us look at our world today with open eyes and a pure heart for those who need our support. Blessed are the pure of heart - for they shall see the face of God. A good monthly confession is the best way to purify our hearts. Then, little by little, you will see Christ in everyone!

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