“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven” – Matthew 9:2
Sin cripples us in a way that a physical ailment would. It breaks us down and holds us back; it hurts us and it prevents us from walking with Christ. We can be blind by avoiding seeing those who are suffering around us. We can be deaf by not hearing other people’s cries for help or for not hearing God when he speaks to us. We can have a spinal disability when we are too scared to stand up for what is right. We can be paralyzed when our sins overtake our lives and make us incapable of acting justly. These physical ailments limit us and weaken us. But Christ shows that with him he can heal our ailments. When Jesus came to the paralytic lying on the stretcher he said to him, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven,” and then later, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” And the paralytic man rose and went home. We too can be healed of our ‘physical ailments’ by confessing our sins to the Lord. Christ’s infinite and loving mercy will heal us from the sins that trap us like a physical ailment.
Today we are called to reflect on our sins and how they have affected our lives, and we are called to trust in Christ to forgive us and heal us. We are called to question, 'how have my sins limited and weakened me? How can I turn to the Lord to ask for healing? And how do I rid my future of such crippling sins?'
God put Abraham to the test. And he puts us to the test as well.
What do you love most in the world? Your husband, your daughter, your friends, or for college kids, your cell phone? What if God asked you to give it up? In today's reading, Abraham was told by God to offer his most beloved son, Isaac, as a burnt offering. Abraham didn’t question God, he didn’t hold back – he trusted in the Lord. What kind of trust and faith that must have been! And while God may not be asking us to sacrifice one of our loved ones, we are called to show the same unbreakable trust that Abraham had for our loving Father.
Throughout high school my dream was to attend Villanova University. I applied to other schools as backups, but ultimately my heart was set on Villanova and when I received my acceptance letter I was overjoyed. Yet during a time in adoration, God asked me to give up that plan that I was so dead-set on. He asked me to have faith in him and trust that he had my best interests at heart. So instead of accepting my admission to Villanova, I chose Creighton. Looking back I know with 100% confidence that I made the right choice and that Creighton was where I was called to be, but a year ago, when I turned down my acceptance to Villanova, I was anything but. I was terrified that I was doing something that was not a part of my plan and I was saddened by the fact that I had given up on a dream that I had held for four years. But I trusted in the Lord and I put my faith in him by listening to him, even though it was a very difficult choice. And while this experience doesn’t even come close to comparing to Abraham’s, it shows that we are all called to trust in the Lord.
At times in our lives God is going to call us to do things that are emotionally difficult, but we need to know that God has a perfect plan for us, and that he will never harm us if we put our faith in him. Today we are called to have the faith and trust that Abraham had in the Lord. We are called to question: 'do I put my faith in the Lord when difficult situations arise? Do I trust that God would never harm me? And do I have confidence that if God called me to, I would give up everything to answer him?'