The good news for the day June 30
Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time (376)
After getting on board a boat, Jesus crossed the lake and came home into his own town. There some people brought him a man so paralyzed he needed a stretcher. Once Jesus realized their faith, he spoke to the paralyzed man, “Cheer up, young man, your sins are forgiven. ”At that, some of the educated people said to themselves, “This man is speaking blasphemy.” Jesus knew what they were thinking: “Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Is it any easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’? than to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But just so that you may know that The Human has the right on earth to forgive sins”—He then said to the man with paralysis, “Get up. Pick up your stretcher, and go on home.” He stood up and went away home. When the public saw this, they were impressed and expressed appreciation to God who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9)
People with faith in Jesus bring him a young man—possibly an adolescent—whose body seems incapable of holding him up. He is on a stretcher. Jesus links his condition to “sin”—but not necessarily moral failure. In the world of Jesus, sin means something wrong, something not working right, something that the Father does not want. The world of Jesus saw sin through a different lens than you and I do—“sin” referred to anything not the way the Creator wanted it to be. Yes, sin includes adultery, murder, and greed, but sometimes sin may be more subtle—ignorance, rudeness and mistakes caused by prejudice, immaturity, hardness of heart and ideological denials we don’t admit. Sin can mean lung cancer, diabetes and misshapen babies caused by ignorance—with no moral guilt whatever. Sin, in other words, can encompass a larger view of “wrong” than our modern view that restricts sin to moral guilt.
Forgiveness of sin does not eliminate the effect. You are still guilty or sick. What forgiveness does is give your courage to find your way back to Life, to faith, and to “Cheering Up”—the “being reborn” that is truly faith. You get up and walk away, your heart and soul strong now to confront “sin.”