Jesus asserts His Divine Authority and miraculously heals a severely paralyzed man on the Sabbath. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gifts of Knowledge and Fortitude from the Holy Spirit so he can more perfectly examine his conscience for sins and by building the Virtue of Religion so he can frequently receive Christ’s forgiveness and rejoice in the Sacrament of Penance.
13th Week in Ordinary Time – Thursday – Mt 9:1-8
Having demonstrated His dominion over Creation by the calming of the storm and the casting out of demons in pagan lands (Mt 8:23-34), Jesus returns across the Sea of Galilee to His home base of Capernaum. Here, He will publicly display His divine authority by boldly forgiving sins and by miraculously healing many.
Surrounded by a large crowd in Peter’s home, some men demonstrate great faith by lowering a paralyzed man on a bed through the roof to Jesus, hoping for a miraculous physical healing. Seeing their faith, Jesus stuns the crowd by first focusing on the paralyzed man’s spiritual ills and He forgives the man’s sins; this prefigures the Sacrament of Penance. Scribes, who were Jewish men who were experts and teachers of the law, unaware that Jesus is God, silently condemn Him of blasphemy for they perceive He is acting like God by forgiving sins, a crime punishable by death because the Old Covenant, given directly by God to Moses, dictated that sins could only be forgiven through the sacrificial system of the Temple.
Able to perfectly read men’s hearts and minds, Jesus bluntly rebukes the Pharisees and teachers for their evil thoughts. To prove He indeed has the authority to forgive sins, Jesus publicly proclaims to be the Son of Man (the long-awaited Messiah) and miraculously heals the paralytic, who rises, picks up his bed, and goes home. Shocked into holy fear by the stunning supernatural event, the crowds spontaneously glorify God, and marvel that Jesus has been given authority by God to forgive sins and miraculously cure the incurable.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Despite trillions of dollars spent on modern medical technology, it is unusual for the paralyzed to be completely healed. Be awed by Jesus’ healing of the paralytic: Divine Knowledge, Jesus knows the cause of both the man’s paralysis and how to heal it, and his sins; Son of God, Jesus has the Authority and Power to override 1300-year-old Jewish ritual laws to forgive sins, changing a man’s eternal destiny; Divine Charity, Jesus chooses to perform a miraculous Corporal Work of Mercy (Care for the Sick) by helping the paralytic; Divine Power, Jesus instantaneously removes the cause of the man’s paralysis, and causes the man’s limbs to regenerate muscle, strength, and coordination.
Seek Gifts of the Spirit to examine your conscience
Realize: Today, sin is ignored, explained away or even celebrated with perverse pride. Jesus does none of the above; He first identifies sin (“Your sins…”), and then forgives it (“…are forgiven.”).
Believe: Reflect upon Mortal and Venial Sin (CCC 1846-1876)
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gifts of Knowledge and Fortitude so I have the perseverance to regularly conduct a deep examination of conscience, can know my sins and courageously confront them.
Rejoice and receive Christ’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance
Realize: Though sometimes overlooked, the phrase, “…God who has given such authority [to forgive sins] to men”, is a prophecy which reveals that Jesus [God] will give the Apostles [men] the unique authority to forgive sins in the Sacrament of Penance, an authority passed down for two millennia in the Catholic Church through Apostolic Succession.
Believe: Reflect upon the Catholic Church’s authority to Forgive Sins (CCC 981-983, 1461-1467) and Apostolic Succession (CCC 857-865, 870).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Priest, help me build the Virtue of Religion (a part of Justice) so that I believe and trust that only in Your Catholic Church may I be forgiven of my sins and I make it an urgent and regular priority to receive Your forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.