The Healing of a Paralytic

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Saint Junípero Serra, Priest

 

Matthew 9:1-8 

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 Jesus, I believe in you. I come before you to receive your healing and listen for your commands. I trust that you desire all things for my salvation.

 

Encountering Christ:

 

  1. Courage, Child: July’s liturgical readings are filled with stories from Jesus’s Galilean ministry. To steep ourselves in the liturgy this month requires courage, for if we truly open ourselves to Jesus’s healing power, we submit ourselves also to follow his commands. But fear not. Hear Jesus’s words, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus’s touch, command, and desire are for our deepest healing—the salvation of our souls. How can we bring ourselves before the Lord this month? And how can we be intercessors for others? Who can we bring to the Lord this month for Jesus’s healing?
  2. Jesus Knew What They Were Thinking: Nothing is hidden from the Lord’s eye. He sees the depths of the heart. He sees judgment, doubt, fear, and desire. In prayer, we are invited to present ourselves before the Lord as we are and let him speak “into” our present struggles. If we identify more with the judgmental and narrow-minded scribes at times, we can note that Jesus does not condemn them but questions them, inciting an examination of conscience with the hope that they will take on a new vision. If we identify with the paralytic who hears his command, “Rise and walk,” let us not hesitate to respond, for great is the reward. The fruit of responding to God’s command is that we become channels for God’s grace.
  3. Awe: “Rise and walk,” Jesus said to the paralytic. Easier said than done, considering that he was a paralytic. And yet, in faith, he obeyed. The simplest human action done in obedience becomes a means for others to praise and glorify God. Never underestimate the testimony of a heart that seeks to obey the Lord. 

 

Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, grant me courage to approach you with sincerity, for you already know my heart. Give me strength to obey your commands, however I discover them today, be it in my daily duty or through your revelation in Scripture and in the Church’s teachings.

 

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will recognize my interior motives, trust in your desire for my salvation, and seek to live my daily duty in obedience to your holy will.

 

For Further Reflection: Who Is Jesus? Bishop Robert Barron. 

 

Written by Jennifer Ristine.

 

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