and Homily Notes
by Archbishop Joe Harris C.S.Sp.
Gospel Mk 2:1-12
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; color: black">Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” —he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
One of the problems which Jesus faced is that the Jewish leaders refused to acknowledge him as someone capable of changing lives for the better. There is constant outrage among the scribes and Pharisees when Jesus tells persons that their sins are forgiven. In the Gospel passage for today their response to Jesus’ forgiving of the sins of the paralytic is “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” For these Jewish leaders, who could not deny what
they were seeing with their very eyes; He cured the sick and blind and lame; Jesus was a wonder-worker but had no power to change persons, to make others better people, to make others friends of God. To work wonders for people but only on the material plane is surely not God’s plan, especially for us who call ourselves Christians and imitators of Jesus Christ. Our world is full of wonder workers. The past century has seen the greatest advancements n science in technology, in medicine but unfortunately that has being matched with growing incidents of terrorism, of wars, of corruption.
The Gospel Reading shows us something very different. The paralytic is physically healed but his healing; the wonder that is worked is only a proof of a far deeper healing that is going on. “But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” —he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” The far greater wonder that has been worked is the restoring of the paralytic to friendship with God.
The Gospel reading for this Sunday calls us to recognize that in the midst of our technologically advanced world, we may be focusing on passing wonders and not on the wonders which bring true life.
We must recognize earthly wonders and wonder workers, the union leader who negotiates a more decent wage for the members of his union, the Sport leader who brings us to the championship, the teacher who helps us to win that
all important scholarship, the doctor who restores us to health. As we recognize and thank God for these wonders and wonder workers however we must not forget that these wonders are to help us to achieve the greater wonder which is the friendship and love of God.
Two questions come out of this reflection; As we work wonders for others do we help them to understand that these wonders are only the prelude to the greatest wonder i.e. the experience of God’s love for us. If we do that we are in fact in line with Jesus and all the saints and we are keeping the authentic tradition of the church alive.
The second is similar. As we receive wonders, do we recognize them as the prelude to the greatest wonder,
God’s love for us?
All powerful and ever-loving God, You fill the world with so many gifts, Gifts which are meant to help us to understand the all consuming love that you have for us. Unfortunately we often forget you the author of these gifts and we let them become obstacles to our love for you and for each other. Help us to see in
your wonders your tremendous love.
Help us to become wonderworkers ourselves so that true us the greatest wonder, your love for us will be experienced. We ask this through Mary Our Mother and your Son Jesus. Amen