When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 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.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,“Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’?
But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
As we enter into ordinary time, we breathe in the crisp winter air, we exhale the whirlwind of the holiday season, and we attempt to keep those resolutions we made just a few short weeks ago as we marked the beginning of a new year. However, we find ourselves living in a world that is anything but ordinary. In the news, we hear almost daily that we are living in a world wrought with terrorism, violence, greed, and abuses. But in light of this, we are also living in a world that needs mercy and forgiveness more than ever.
How can I live out my faith and forgive others who have wronged me? How can I seek forgiveness from those whom I have wronged? And, perhaps most importantly, how can I reach out to the Lord and pray that I can find it deep within to forgive myself, gratefully accepting the good news that our merciful Lord has already forgiven my transgressions?
—Leigh M. Hartley works in higher education administration at the University of Chicago. Over the past 15 years she has volunteered with the Jesuits over 15 years, initially with Charis Ministries more recently years through planning and organizing pilgrimages with Fr. Michael Sparough, S.J.
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
—From the Chaplet of Divine Mercy