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Jesus heals

Jesus heals

He was preaching the word to them when some people came bringing him a paralytic carried by four men, but as the crowd made it impossible to get the man to him, they stripped the roof over the place where Jesus was; and when they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic lay.

Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven’ (Mk 2:3-5).

When last we read this Gospel story at home, one of my children asked why it was that Jesus forgave the man’s sins first and only later cured him from his paralysis to prove ‘that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’.  I love such questions, as they give me the opportunity to hear the Gospel afresh and consider aspects I’d never even noticed before.  In this instance, I thought of Jesus as a good doctor, assessing the patient’s needs.  Of course he’d noticed that the man was paralysed.  Of course he knew that he was expected to heal the paralytic.  However he also saw that, unlike yesterday’s leper, this man was not seriously ill, nor was he isolated from the community.  Indeed, the paralytic had four good friends (consider the lengths – the heights – they went to in order to give their friend a chance of meeting Jesus!).

As Jesus saw not only the physical condition but also what was in men’s hearts, he presumably saw that this man was more in need of spiritual healing, of forgiveness, than he was of physical healing.  He therefore set about addressing the most critical need first: he forgave the man’s sins.

What about us?  If we were to encounter Jesus in the next room, what would he heal first?

Unlike the paralytic, we cannot ask our friends to deliver ourselves to Jesus’ feet in the hope of healing.  However, we can take ourselves off to the nearest confessional, where we can place ourselves at the feet of that same Jesus in the sure hope of his love, his mercy and his forgiveness.

Jesus’ forgiveness is available in a confessional near you.  Don’t wait until you are in a state of paralysis.  Just go.

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