Today’s readings can be found here.
And after getting into a boat, he crossed the sea and came to his own town. And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic— “Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.
“Some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’” The miracle told in today’s Gospel should make us think deeply. It is not just a “physical” miracle but one of forgiveness.
And still, what should get our attention is what makes this miracle possible. In fact, the Gospel notes that Jesus “saw their faith” and only then he turned to the paralytic.
Things happen because someone puts his or her faith on the table. My prayer can bring changes in the life of those who are next to me. My faith can make rivers of mercy flow for those who are unable to move forward. My love for Christ can bring forgiveness to the world. It is not an exaggeration. It is exactly what today’s Gospel tells us.
Yet in the face of all this, the scribes remain petty-minded:
“‘This man is blaspheming.’ But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ —he then said to the paralytic— ‘Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.’ And he stood up and went to his home.”
Certain types of logic can only be shaken with concrete evidence rather than internal insights. However, I can assure you that there are some who, even when faced with the facts, disregard the evidence. Little can be done with these people other than to pray for them.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio’, Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.