July 2, 2020, Thursday of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Scripture: Matthew 9:1-8

And after getting into a boat he crossed the water and came to his own town.

And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’ Then some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he then said to the paralytic—‘Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.’ And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.

The Word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.


       “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

This event, telescoped as it is in a rather breathless style, leaves me stunned at the raw human interchange between the quick judgments of the scribes and Jesus’ rapid response. He works this cure to prove his authority to forgive sin on earth.

Jesus is moved with compassion for this paralyzed man and ready to lead him to a new life with his healing. But the Lord is sidetracked by the rash judgment of the scribes. How disappointed Jesus must have been to be interrupted by such thoughts, which attack his mission at its foundation. The people, and this unfortunate paralyzed man, need to be reassured that the kingdom of God has come even for them.

As I meditate on this Gospel, I see how intent Jesus is on fulfilling his mission to bring the Good News of forgiveness, healing, and new life! He offers this to every one of us, not just to the religious elite. The hope for healing will need only faith to keep it alive, not wealth, social position, or learning.

Forgiveness is what Jesus always does first. For most of us it is the most difficult of Jesus’ teachings to follow, and the hallmark of every person’s faith. Jesus’ words to this paralytic are meant for me, too. Strengthened by his grace, I want to go one step further and forgive others with his same openness and compassion.


   Lord, you show all your forgiveness and love. I place my hand in yours, taking heart from your grace and forgiveness, so that I in turn may practice forgiveness. Lead me home. Lead me home.


“Take heart . . .”