Friday, January 13, 2017

Reflection: Mark 2:1-12

Friday of the  First Week of  Ordinary Time - Mark 2:1-12

This Gospel reading begins as Jesus returns to Capernaum after being gone for a few days.  The word quickly spread that He had returned.  Many people began to gather so they could hear Jesus preach; they were eager to listen to His words.  However, there simply was not room for all of the people!  While Jesus was preaching, several people arrived bringing a paralyzed man to Him for healing.  However, Jesus was surrounded by such a large crowd of people that they were not able to make a path through the crowd.  After a time, the stretcher-bearers decided to open up the roof above Jesus and then they carefully lowered the paralyzed man down into the house where Jesus was sitting.

When Jesus saw the great faith these men had, he said to the paralytic: “My son, your sins are forgiven.”  When the scribes heard the words Jesus said to the man, they were scandalized.  Their first thought was: “Who can forgive sins except God alone?”  However, they did not speak the words aloud; in their hearts they were accusing Jesus of blasphemy.   Jesus knew what the scribes were thinking and finally he asked them: “Why do you harbor these thoughts?  What is easier to say: ‘Your sins are forgiven; or to say: Stand up!  Pick up your mat and walk?’ So you may know that the Son of Man has power to forgive sins, Jesus spoke to the paralytic and said: ‘I command you: Stand up!  Pick up your mat and go home!’”  The man immediately stood up, picked up his mat and walked out of the house.  Every person in the room was awestruck.   Then they began praising God saying: “We have never seen anything like this.”

It appears from this Gospel reading that the scribes interpreted the Scriptures “literally.”  After all, what was the great sin that Jesus had committed?  Jesus had given this man a great gift; yet the scribes were protesting his healing of the man because it was the Sabbath and they considered Jesus’ healing of the paralytic as “work.” Many of the Pharisees tended to interpret “the law” literally.  Thus, this infraction of the law by Jesus on the Sabbath was exactly what the Pharisees were looking for: an opportunity to criticize Jesus and accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath.

Today is a good day to examine ourselves.  Which category do you fall into?  Ask yourself:  am I one of the scribes with a literal interpretation of the law?  Or do I follow in Jesus’ footsteps striving to live the law of love?  I pray that it is the latter!

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