Thursday, June 30, 2011

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear”

"I do not fear at all what men can do to me for speaking the truth. I only fear what God would do if I were to lie."- St John Bosco

Gospel text (Mt 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 Saviour'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).

Sin cripples us in a way that a physical ailment would. It breaks us down and holds us back; it hurts us and it prevents us from walking with Christ. We can be blind by avoiding seeing those who are suffering around us. We can be deaf by not hearing other people’s cries for help or for not hearing God when he speaks to us. We can have a spinal disability when we are too scared to stand up for what is right. We can be paralyzed when our sins overtake our lives and make us incapable of acting justly. These physical ailments limit us and weaken us. But Christ shows that with him he can heal our ailments. When Jesus came to the paralytic lying on the stretcher he said to him, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven,” and then later, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” And the paralytic man rose and went home. We too can be healed of our ‘physical ailments’ by confessing our sins to the Lord. Christ’s infinite and loving mercy will heal us from the sins that trap us like a physical ailment.

Today we are called to reflect on our sins and how they have affected our lives, and we are called to trust in Christ to forgive us and heal us. We are called to question, 'how have my sins limited and weakened me? How can I turn to the Lord to ask for healing? And how do I rid my future of such crippling sins?'

Although the Lord is all-knowing, He is all-merciful and all-loving. Accept His unconditional acceptance of you. Let Jesus wash away by His blood the sins of your past through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Live in the freedom and purity of His unconditional love (see Jn 15:9).

We must reaffirm our confidence in him. But, we should remember we are also sinners, so let us not close ourselves to his Grace.

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