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Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
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.
Opening Prayer: Lord, today I feel like the paralytic, in need of your tender touch. Help me to open my heart and mind to your healing as I reflect on these lines of Scripture.
- His Heart’s Desire: When friends brought the paralytic to Jesus, he cured the paralytic spiritually. That was apparently Jesus’s first priority, his heart’s desire. But Jesus also longs to be known by us and he cured the paralytic physically to demonstrate his authority over sin, so that we may know what he values above all—a pure, unsoiled soul. Jesus wants us to trust in his power to forgive sin so that we will come to him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He is ready to restore our souls and heal our hearts no matter how badly we’ve misbehaved.
- Mind Reading: Jesus knew that his critics were thinking “evil thoughts.” And he knows our thoughts too. As Psalm 139 reminds us, “Lord, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. You sift through my travels and my rest; with all my ways you are familiar. Even before a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it all.” Even though Jesus knew their “evil thoughts,” he didn’t condemn them. Instead, he offered them proof of his authority in an effort to win them over. Nor does Jesus condemn us. He perpetually knocks at the door of our hearts, inviting us to welcome him in.
- The Paralytic: The paralytic received from Jesus a complete cure—body and soul. He owed his new beginning to a few good friends who literally carried him to Jesus. Sometimes we’re the one needing a cure, but sometimes God is calling us to be that good friend to a soul in need. Prayer and the sacraments can help to put us into good spiritual shape so that we’re able to do the “heavy lifting” to bring souls placed in our path to Jesus.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, this story is hopeful and full of love—the love of friends for the paralytic; the love of Jesus for the paralytic; and Jesus’s love for the skeptical Pharisees, which he showed by demonstrating his authority over sin. You are pure love! Help me to remember that you love me infinitely as well.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will offer tangible help to someone, as prompted by the Holy Spirit.
For Further Reflection: Slowly read and meditate on all of Psalm 139.
Written by Maribeth Harper.
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