Thursday, June 30, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 9:1-8

Thursday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time – Matthew 9:1-8

In today’s passage from Matthew, Jesus returned to his hometown. When the townspeople heard that Jesus was home, they brought a paralytic to Him, carrying the man on a stretcher.  Clearly these people had faith in Jesus’ power to heal this man.  Jesus said to the paralytic: “Child, have courage; your sins are forgiven.”

Now there also were scribes with the townspeople.  The scribes began murmuring among themselves about Jesus.  They believed that Jesus was blaspheming.  How dare Jesus think that he had the power to forgive sins!  However, Jesus knew what they were thinking.  Even though they had not spoken a word to Him, Jesus could read their thoughts and their faces. He clearly sensed their disapproval and negativity.

Jesus confronted the scribes about their evil thoughts.  He asked them:  “Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or say to the man: ‘Rise up and walk?’  Jesus then turned to the paralytic and said to him: “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and return home.”  The paralytic immediately stood up, picked up his stretcher and went to his home.  Everyone was filled with awe and the people began to glorify God who had given such authority to Jesus.

Is there a critical scribe within us? I assume so.  Do we recognize when our inner scribe gets activated?  Do we recognize when we are murmuring?  Does our inner scribe automatically judge others?  Do we ever criticize Jesus for what he does or what he does not do?

Daily, we need to be mindful of our inner scribe’s voice and our tendency to judge and criticize others as well as ourselves!  When we are mindful of our thoughts and criticisms, we have the opportunity to step back, change our minds, and stop our judgment or criticism.  If we do this consciously for a period of time, we may come to realize that we are not judging others as frequently as we had been.  And who knows: we may find that we are more peaceful and more at ease.

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