Daily Reflection
July 5th, 2001
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Genesis 22:1-19
Psalms 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Matthew 9:1-8

There the people at once brought to him a paralyzed man lying on a mat.
     When Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven."

I love this story.  These people bring Jesus a man who can't move.  In their faith, they are sure that Jesus will know what to do.  Jesus is touched by their faith.  He tells the man to have courage and he tells him his sins are forgiven.  It would be a wonderful story, if it ended right there.  But, it gets really good now.  

Whenever forgiveness of sins happens, wherever there is the powerful presence of God's mercy, there always seems to be someone "religious" nearby that has a problem with mercy, with easy forgiveness, perhaps with compassion at all.  In this case, these religious fellows are challenging Jesus' "authority" to offer God's forgiveness.  

What's so wonderful about this next part is that Jesus knows that he has already healed the man.  He knows that what the man needed was forgiveness.  Jesus always knows the debilitating impact of sin on us.  Jesus sees into the heart of our paralysis, whatever prevents us from being able to "move."  He goes right into what dis-courages us, and he offers us courage.  Jesus understands, has compassion on our struggle, he forgives us, and therefore heals us, so we can be free.  

In order that they might "realize" that Jesus can forgive sins, can really heal us, he tells the man to get up and walk.  He says, "Show them!  You can walk.  You have been forgiven.   You are made whole by this mercyful love.  Be a witness of the love I have for you, by walking."  And they all praise God because the power to forgive sins is among us.

Let's let Jesus look into our hearts today and heal what is discouraged, whatever has been sinfully unloving, whatever ruts or habits we find ourselves "stuck" in.  Let's hear him say to us today, "Have courage, your sins are forgiven."  And, let's notice his smile, as he just knows we can walk, we can get up from whatever it is that has us down.  There are people all around us who need compassionate, en-couraging forgiveness and healing.  Let's praise God, by sharing that love, today.

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