Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave - St. John Chrysostom
Gospel text (Mk 2,1-12):
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
"Child, your sins are forgiven."
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
"Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?"
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise, pick up your mat and walk'?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth"
-he said to the paralytic,
"I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home."
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."
Usually today's Gospel reading is entitled "The Paralyzed Man." It should be entitled "The Paralyzed Men." The man on the stretcher wasn't the only paralyzed person in the room. The scribes were spiritually paralyzed, a much more serious condition than physical paralysis. Because of it, the scribes wouldn't believe. They even refused to rejoice in the paralytic's healing. Furthermore, the scribes were so paralyzed they could not recognize their paralysis.
In contrast, those who carried the paralytic on a stretcher, broke up the roof, and lowered him down were certainly not paralyzed but truly free (Mk 2:4). They didn't let themselves be paralyzed by fear of failure, rejection, or ridicule. They acted in faith (Mk 2:5), even if they might be embarrassed.
One of the natural effects of sin is denial. We deny that our sins are serious, that we are guilty, and eventually even that there is any such thing as sin. But when we deny sin, we deny the need for Jesus. In effect, we deny Jesus' divinity, because the taking away of the sins of the world could have been done only by God Himself.
We can revive this miracle quite often through Confession. With the words of forgiveness said by a Catholic Priest («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.
Only sinners need a Savior. Let us ask the Lord for the miracle of admitting our sins rather than denying them. Then we will be eternally grateful to Jesus, Savior, Lord, and God, Who alone frees us from our sins.
Pick up your mat and go home (Mk 2:5, 11).