From the Word of the Day
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.”…They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” (Mark 2: 1-12)
In today’s Gospel, Mark paints a lively picture of the famous episode of the healing of a paralyzed man. If we look at this scene closely, the focus of the Evangelist is not on Jesus who heals the man, but on His Word that affirms: “Child, your sins are forgiven”. For the Teacher of Nazareth, the healing is not the most important thing in itself, but is in function of His Word that forgives. The basic preoccupation of the Savior, in fact, is not healing, but forgiveness. This means that Jesus, in accord with genuine Biblical thought, knows that body and spirit are not separate, but one, and form a harmonious unity in the human being. Thus, the exterior healing is only a sign that leads us to something deeper and more unitary – forgiveness!
While before Jesus had expressly prohibited the public manifestation of His Messiahship – the so-called Messianic Secret – now He Himself proclaims that “the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”. Now the danger of equivocating about His true religious identity, in a political and worldly sense, no longer exists.
The forgiveness of sins by Jesus is the expression of that ‘Mercy of God’ that defines His very nature and all His salvific actions in the world. It has found its historical visibility in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who reveals God’s true face. This is the great intuition of Pope Francis in the induction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy that we are living.
In my pause for silent contemplation, I will bask in this Mercy of God so graciously revealed by Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!
The Voice of Pope Francis
Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s Mercy. The mystery of Christian faith seems to find its synthesis in these words. This became alive, visible, and has reached its culmination in Jesus of Nazareth.
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