STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
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.
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
Everyone wants to be liked and loved, especially by their peers. I still remember the first time I heard someone had said something bad about me. While I honestly can’t remember anymore what exactly that person said, what I do remember is the feelings of hurt and sadness upon hearing it. In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes to his home town and cures this paralytic man who is brought to him. Then it is his own friends and neighbors who say and think these evil thoughts about him. Sometimes the hardest people for us to share the Gospel message with are those that we love the most, our family and friends, the people we have grown up around. The fear of rejection is very real, and the message we have to share isn’t always popular. Christ shows us how to respond to rejection and opposition with love. He is confident in his mission and in the message he has to share. He knows that he is the Son of God. We too should be confident in our identity as sons and daughters of God and in the message he has given us to share with the world, but sometimes our sins get in the way.
We see miracles happen all around us, yet we have such a hard time believing that our sins can actually be forgiven. All sin is ultimately rooted in a lack of trust in God and in his goodness and mercy. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it says, “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness” (376). We might know in our minds that God’s goodness and mercy are real, but we so often doubt that truth in our hearts, especially when we are forced to face our own sins and wrongdoings. We find it hard to trust that God actually wants to forgive us because often our sins seem too big or too many.
The first thing Christ says to the paralytic is “courage.” This word is what Christ says to us too, every time we come to him with our sins and suffering. Christ gives us the courage and the strength to face our fears and overcome our sins. This courage also gives us the power and confidence to go out and preach the Gospel message and to bring Christ’s healing power and love to others. The truth is there is not much point to physical healing if we do not receive spiritual healing as well. Our bodies are only temporary, but our souls are meant for eternity. While doctors can help heal physical sickness and disease, only Christ can heal the hurt in our hearts caused by sin. Trust that God’s mercy and goodness are real and that he wants to heal you too.
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
“Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?”
What are you afraid of?
What is holding you back from embracing God’s love and mercy?
What are some areas of your life where you need Christ’s love and healing? Invite him into those parts of your life.
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
“Jesus, I trust in you.”
“Christ, heal my heart.”
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
Bring your fears, hurt, and sins to the Lord. Invite him into those parts of your life where you are most in need of his love and mercy. Trust that the Lord wants to meet you there and bring you healing and peace.
SMARTPHONE LOCK SCREEN
Today's prayer was prepared by Maggie Overbeck.