Penance and Healing
Today’s gospel, 11th of December 2017, talks about a paralyzed man who was healed by Jesus and whose sins were forgiven by Him. However, the Pharisees and teachers of the law who had come cannot accept this, and thus, questioned Jesus:
Gospel: Lk 5:17-26
One day, Jesus was teaching, and many Pharisees and teachers of the law had come from every part of Galilee and Judea, and even from Jerusalem. They were sitting there, while the power of the Lord was at work to heal the sick. Then some men brought a paralyzed man who lay on his mat. They tried to enter the house to place him before Jesus, but they couldn’t find a way through the crowd. So they went up on the roof, and, removing the tiles, they lowered him on his mat into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.” At once the teachers of the law and Pharisees began to wonder, “This man insults God!” Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
But Jesus knew their thoughts and asked them, “Why are you reacting like this?” Which is easier to say: ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Get up and walk’? Now you shall know, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” And Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” At once, the man stood before them. He took up the mat he had been lying on, and went home praising God. Amazement seized the people and they praised God. They were filled with a holy fear and said, “What wonderful things we have seen today!”
To witness this kind of faith is inspiring for us many. The group sincerely desired and sought healing for their paralyzed friend. They made a way to get to Jesus just to receive the healing that they are looking for. They believed and they got what they aspired for, amidst the blocks they encountered along the way such as the enormous crowd that hinders them to enter the house. Even Jesus was amazed at their faith! After seeing this, they were forgiven of their sins which we can look at as a way of healing. As sin becomes a block that hinders us to the way of true loving. There are many examples of this but I could mention some examples. For instance, when we commit the sin of pride, it seeks and promotes division because prides make us think we are greater than others. This is in contrast to the virtue of humility that enables us to see the good in others, and makes us feel more connected and thus, more united with them. Pride also hinders us to forgive other people even those that we love. Another is, when we judge people, we cannot accept the person as they are.
But again, here comes a question that is frequently asked of the Catholics: why do we need to confess our sins to a priest and not to GOD?
A lot of people nowadays say that it’s not biblical and this is a law made by man. To put it simply we are only following Jesus’ instruction and it is very biblical. “to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 Here are some evidences you can find in scripture. “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” James 5:16 Then He goes on to say upon giving the Holy Spirit. “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” John 20:23 The basis of the sacrament of confession is very clear. But one might ask, is it not that only God has the power to forgive sins? Let me show you first how Jesus brought the power of forgiveness from heaven to earth. “but that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” Matthew 9:6 This shows proof that authority was given to men, take note that it is in plural form. “When the crowds saw it, they were afraid and they glorified God, who had given such authority to MEN”(emphasis added) Matthew 9:8 Here, Jesus gives His authority to his disciples. “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”” John 20:21 For our priests who does the absolution in confession, they do not do it in their power. Instead it comes from Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.(John 20:22). “all this is from God, who reconciled us to himself and GAVE us the ministry of reconciliation”(emphasis added) 2 Corinthians 5:18 “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sin, through the ministry of the Church. May God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.” CCC 1449
May the Lord bless us protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen. +
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