- Matt 9:1-8
- The Healing of a Paralytic
Robert Muller suggested a program for achieving a truly forgiving heart:
Sunday: Forgive yourself.
Monday: Forgive your family.
Tuesday: Forgive your friends and associates.
Wednesday: Forgive across economic lines within your own nation.
Thursday: Forgive across cultural lines within your own nation.
Friday: Forgive across political lines within your own nation.
Saturday: Forgive other nations.
Only the brave know how to forgive. A coward never forgives. It is not in his nature, continued Muller.
In today’s gospel the people brought to Jesus a paralytic man lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic: “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” These words of Jesus do not strike us as extraordinary because we are used to have our sins being forgiven. We go to confession and tell our sins to the priest and then we are absolved. But, according to a priest’s homily, the point we need to see is that it is in having his sins forgiven that his paralysis is healed. And so when we sin we paralyze ourselves. We do not necessarily paralyze ourselves physically; but, from a spiritual point of view, when we sin there is an effect that takes place within us and in that area of sin we become paralyzed in a particular way. Father Hardon used to say, “It is impossible for anyone in the state of mortal sin to think clearly.” Let us ponder this statement. In the area in which we sin, we are blinded, we are paralyzed so that we cannot act properly and we cannot see clearly.
But when some of the scribes heard about it they said: “This man is blaspheming.” I think they were thinking that Jesus is insulting God. That only God can forgive the sins and we don’t have the right, as human beings, to forgive the sins of others. But all of us know that we too must forgive because we are forgiven by God.
Why we should forgive? We forgive because forgiveness as somebody said, it is not something we do for others; it is something we do for our own self. Those who do not forgive others, who do not forgive easily, or who forgive on a conditional basis, slowly build up bitterness inside themselves.
And also, continued this priest’s homily, if we do not forgive, hold in negative feelings, and do not work on finding suitable resolutions, we carry all the hurts, anger, fear and disappointments inside ourselves. Even if we might think we are “OK,” even put on a good social front, but the reality of the matter is, when we refuse to forgive and move on to a new day, the negative baggage becomes so much a part of us, that it blurs our vision and causes our perceptions of the world and those around us to be distorted. An unforgiving attitude not only affects one emotionally, but physically and spiritually.
For me the greatest example of the ultimate forgiveness was Jesus’. He was guilty of no crime and wrong doing, yet he was nailed on the cross for your sins and mine. He could have cursed those who persecuted him but He uttered these words, “Father, forgive them…”