Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
The scene recounted in today’s Gospel could be read in two parallel ways: On the one hand, Jesus teaching and arguing with Pharisees and teachers of the law, and on the other hand, a sick man carried on a stretcher who cannot get in because of the crowd.
It almost seems that this man is the message that Jesus can’t get into the heads and hearts of the Pharisees and teachers of the law. In fact, the paralytic represents the concrete suffering of a man who, perhaps through his own fault or due to something that has happened in his life, finds himself in a position of disadvantage, of paralysis, of impossibility.
A group of friends manages to lower him down through the roof in front of Jesus. They perhaps represent the Church as it should always be, or maybe they represent the creativity of love that always finds original ways to achieve a result. The fact is that the Gospel notes that “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘As for you, your sins are forgiven.'”
This forgiveness is already a miracle, but forgiveness is a mystery in this man’s heart, and since most of those present don’t believe in Jesus’ ability to forgive, he then says,
“What are you thinking in your hearts? 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 said to the one who was paralyzed, ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.’ He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God.”
The lesson is immense: Jesus can forgive (free) our life from all that prevents it from truly being life. Do we believe this, or do we think that faith is limited only to analyzing what has happened?
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.