Daily Reflection
February 20th, 2000
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
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The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24-25
Psalms 41:2-5, 13-14
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
Mark 2:1-12

What might the word, "confuse," mean to you?  Literally it means things flowing together.  When we are confused though, the things that are flowing together don't belong together.  Try singing a melody while somebody else is singing a different tune; they don't mix well.

There is confusion in today's readings from the liturgy.  God speaks through the prophet Isaiah, making a strong statement about FORGETTING THE "EVENTS OF Israel's  PAST."  "See, I am doing something new."  Then God recalls Israel's sinful past, the very thing God told them to not consider any more.

Jesus confuses the scribes in today's Gospel.  He heals a paralytic man by telling him that his sins are forgiven.  The scribes watching this are perplexed, because Jesus healed a man by saying something about sins being forgiven.  They are also confused, because only God can forgive sins and Jesus, to them, doesn't appear like anything, but a man.  The paralyzed man and the friends, who brought him, are confused as well, but let it all go, because their friend is healed.

Jesus has come into this world not as a physical healer, but to remove the burden of sin and regret for our past which can paralyze us.  This is the new thing; this is the new way.  This is the meaning of the New Covenant.  God does not want us to lie upon a lifeless, life-long pallet of paralysis and dis-grace.

The miracle of physical healing is very attractive and exciting to contemplate.  For Jesus, and for us His followers, healing is a blest means to the miracle of picking up our lives again and living again the ways of God's love.  "He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went home in the sight of everyone."  This rising, this going, this being in the sight of everyone leads the people to say; "We have never seen anything like this." 

Paul, in the second reading today picks up the theme of confusion and simply says a very comforting thing, that with Jesus, as Son of God, we have God's emphatic, "yes."  There is not confusion then about god's attitude towards us, but this can lead to our being confused.  We ourselves don't find forgiving others an easy thing to do.  We can feel that God must be like us and so does not easily forgive.  Our confusion is our problem and Jesus' "yes" is meant both to free us from and then free us for.  The "for" is not the negative statement that we will not merely sin again.  The forgiveness is meant for our rising and getting on with our lives and His life in us.

Being forgiven is always a new thing, because our rebellion is always something new, even when it is done over and over again by us.  We have the mental faculty to remember and so it is hard for us to regret the past.  We are not freed from memory, but the paralysis, which can occur, when we do forget God's "yes" in Jesus.  WE can drag our lives around, behind us like an old out-house on wheels, that's our free choice, but an unfree way to spend our days.  Remembering is healthy; being sickened by our memories is our deepest illness.  To believe in Jesus means that we believe also in what He has done for and said about us.  What He says is "yes!"  Today we are invited also to accept His "yes" with our rising and going home confused by being so loved and peaceful by being so healed.

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