The Good News for the Day, July 6, 2017
Thursdays of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time (380)
After getting on a boat, Jesus made the crossing that brought him back into his own town. There some folks brought him a man suffering paralysis—lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw the people’s faith, he said to the man on the stretcher, “Have courage, young’un, your sins are forgiven.” Watching this, some educated people there thought to themselves, “This man is falsely claiming a divine power.” Jesus—knowing what they were thinking—said, “What makes you think such hostile things? Which is easier: To say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or: To say, ‘Rise and walk’? But just so that you know that the Child of the Human Race has power on earth to forgive sins”– he then said to man paralyzed, “Get up. Pick up your stretcher, and go on home.” The man got up and went home. When the public saw this, they were awe-struck. (Matthew 9)
Have you ever reflected—seriously—on the forgiveness of sin? On the nature of sin—as something you (and I) choose to do—a bad choice, often selfish, often stupid, but always wrong. How it spreads. How it causes harm beyond the simple lie, jealousy, theft, flirtation that is a big too much? How does that bad choice truly get remedied? It is not like a wound, a burn, or a cancer—something your body has that can be treated, eased, and healed (or not). Isn’t there some truth to these educated people thinking only God can forgive sin?
Yes, from one viewpoint, only God can forgive sins—but God has given that power to the “child of the human race”—you and me! Notice how you forgive your young child for a tantrum, a pre-teen for a selfishness or some impulsive moment of stealing money for some childish desire—that is how God feels—some disappointment, understanding, and a smidgen of laughter —but loving, loving! THAT is how you forgive sins—You love the fault-maker for something (“There but for the grace of God) that you yourself might do. And penalties come for remembrance…