1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Your sins are forgiven.
What a moving scene this must have been! The friends of the paralyzed man are gathered around him. They have known him all his life, and they’ve never dreamed that his condition could change.
But now, Jesus says a few words over his rigid body, and he starts to move! He lifts up one arm, then a leg. Then he raises himself up off the stretcher and walks slowly toward his friends. Everyone is weeping for joy. Could anything be more amazing?
Yes. Hearing Jesus tell the man, “Your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). While physical healings are tremendous demonstrations of Jesus’ power, they pale in comparison to his forgiving our sin! Sin can separate us from God forever. It’s what drove us out of paradise and caused us to be subjected to sickness and death. Sin is the ultimate “terminal disease,” and there’s nothing more wondrous than being healed of it.
When Jesus asks if it is easier to forgive the man’s sins or to heal him, we know the answer. It was anything but easy for him to redeem us from sin. He was beaten, scourged, and crucified, and he died a slow, agonizing death to set us free. What’s even worse, he took the world’s sin upon himself. “For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Any physical healing that we receive is just one dimension of this bigger miracle that Jesus accomplished on the cross.
The next time you go to Confession, think about what Jesus has done for you in winning your forgiveness. Contemplate how great a salvation he won for you at the cost of his own life. Let this sacrament open to you the doors of mercy, restoration, and healing. Know that when the priest absolves you, Jesus himself is speaking through him. Taste his love for you and be assured that he does not dwell on your sins. With Jesus, forgiven really does mean forgotten! Thank the Lord that you are free to love and serve him. Then go and share his love with your brothers and sisters!
“Lord, help me to appreciate your sacrifice for me. May I experience your forgiveness more deeply today!”
1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22