Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The miracle of each reconciliation
He entered a boat, 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 human beings. . Mt 9,1-8
The astonishment of the crowd and the scandal of the scribes do not really come from the healing of the paralytic, rather than from Jesus’s statement: “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven”. He does this miracle to announce that a new power has burst into the world: the one to revive the man not only in his body, but also in spirit, so that he may have a totally new life. Jesus is not just a healer from the pains of mankind and society, he does not heal for making everything work better than before: it opens new horizons of life, reconciling man with God. And it is amazing that this power has been transferred to the Church. Meditating on this paralytic’s behavior, who stands up and goes home, we can imagine the inner healing taking place in a person who comes out of a confessional. If tha sinner ia a man or a woman who has failed in reaching the purpose to live in communion with God, this verse from the Gospel makes us touch that Ezekiel’s prophecy is fulfilled with the advent of Jesus in history: “I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees” (Ez 36,25-27). The paralytic stands up and goes away not only because he has been healed in his legs, but also for the fact that now he has a new path to walk and a plan to carry out. The real lame in today’s passage are those scribes who think: “This man is blaspheming”. They return home as they came, still slaves of their sin, their presumptions and their narrow world. The real blasphemy, the scandal of the gospel is that God has shown his solidarity with us in our sin so that we could be united with him in resurrection. As long as you can meditate on it, you will never quite penetrate this mystery God’s love, and as fare as we can be aware of it, we will never fully see the point of the miracle that happens every time we enter a confessional to reconcile with God.