Thursday, XIII Week of Ordinary Time, Year A

Courage, son, your sins are forgiven

Readings: 1st: Am 7:10-17; Ps: 18; Gos: Mt 9:1-8

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

On this Thursday of the 13th week of ordinary time, Matthew presents us the seventh of the ten miracles of Christ after his sermon on the mount.

Today’s miracle is unique. Although the idea is popular in Jewish tradition, for the first time, Christ traced the cause of a physical sickness to sin.

In the field of medicine, the complete cure of any sickness is only possible through a proper diagnosis of its main cause. Hence, a physician who remains at the level of mere guessing, may never be successful in curing the sickness.

Again, the case of the Corona Virus that is still doing us a lot of harm right now proves this to be very true. Thanks to all the professionals making serious efforts to find a vaccine, or a cure for it.

However, until we have a complete idea of what we are really dealing with through accurate diagnosis, the right vaccine, and complete cure for this disease will continue to elude us.

In today’s gospel, the Jews thought they knew what was the problem and possible solution of the paralytic man that was brought to Christ. Unfortunately, they were wrong, because they could not see beyond the physical. Also, the never thought that anyone could heal him.

However, being God, Christ accurately diagnosed the cause of the man’s sickness. He knew that the man’s physical paralysis was only a symptom of the actual sickness – SIN.

Of course, Christ did not mean that all sicknesses are caused by sin (Jn 9:3). However, in this particular case, his simple prescription was forgiveness: “Your sins are forgiven.”

Indeed, his authority was questioned, but the result proved his diagnosis right. Christ knew that without, healing the man spiritually, by first forgiving his sins, he will remain sick, even after curing his physical paralysis.

So, today’s gospel calls us to a deep and sincere reflection on our situation. Only the paralytic man, and his God knew what held him down for so long. Those who brought him to Christ never knew and, were surprised to know it.

It is possible that there is a hidden “element” in our life. So, the solution to our problems could be very simple, while we continue wasting our precious time and resource searching for it elsewhere. 

If we sincerely come to Christ, we shall equally hear him say to us: “Courage, your sins are forgiven. Rise, pick up your stretcher and go home.”.”

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

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