Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of Proper 10: Year 1
“And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay.” (Mark 2:4)
I am amazed at what we can actually do through love and faith. The friends of the paralytic man were determined to get their paralyzed friend to our Lord Jesus. The crowd would not stop them. Jesus was amazed at their faith. He was so amazed that he used their faith to wash away the paralytic’s crippling psychological hold on him. He forgave the man of his sins.
When questioned about whether or not Jesus has the power to forgive sins, our Lord Jesus explains that while there are some visible things we humans can do, like bringing a friend to Jesus against all odds. There are some invisible things we simply cannot do, or, can we?
Jesus goes on to explain that while we can see the physical things that he can do, we ought to know that there are some invisible things he can do as well. We need to know that our Lord Jesus is very God of very God; Jesus is Lord over the seen, and the unseen. Given that the walking, talking, teaching, healing and forgiving Jesus was in fact God Incarnate, then of course Jesus can do all these signs and wonders – seen and unseen.
But here is the thing, we, you and I, can do many more signs and wonders than we are doing now. There are some medical marvels that we still can’t do. For example, people who suffer from some spinal injuries must still live the rest of their lives as paralyzed. Some midlife blindness is permanent. Some psychological disorders are also irreversible. While our Lord Jesus could bring about changes to these physical impairments, he also did what we all can do if we allow ourselves; he forgave sins.
To say, as the scribes did that, “Only God can forgive sins,” is a copout. With compassion, we too can relieve truly penitent people of their pain, such as this man in our Mark reading today. It’s understandable if we don’t want to forgive someone who denies their wrongdoing, or tries to minimize it. But for someone who has given up on life because they are so hurt by what they have done, surely we should find some mercy within our hearts to forgive them. No, we do not have to be God to forgive. Forgiveness is a part of us that makes us created in God’s Image. I pray that one day our God-given medical skills will enable us to cure disabilities. But God has advanced our capacity to forgive a fallen brother or sister who is truly remorseful. We just need to use it now.
Let us live to love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John