February 19, 2012: 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.” 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.” (Mark 1:1-12)
It is hard for us to imagine being able to take off the top of someone’s house and lower a person lying on a mat to the floor inside! But that is the story that Mark tells us in this gospel. And when Jesus sees the man, he tells him, not to get up and walk (which is what he and his friends wanted) but that his sins are forgiven. The Scribes who were there accused Jesus of blaspheming because only God could forgive sins. Of course, even though the Scribes were representatives of the Jewish religion, they did not know that Jesus was God.
So to show them that he had the power to cure as well as to forgive sins, Jesus tells the crippled man to pick up his mat and go home. And he did! Actually, no one knew at that time that Jesus was God–even his disciples. But when we read the gospels they tell us the story of how they gradually came to understand that He, indeed, was God.
Is Jesus God? We know he is God’s Son. So what does that mean? I think it means that Jesus, the God who loves all of us, knows everything about you, even what you are thinking, even perhaps some things that may not be so good. And yet Jesus still loves you, no matter whether you are good or sometimes not so good. Coming to know that Jesus loves you personally is very important. You are not just one in a million to Him–you are very special and He loves you just because you are you.