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Lord Jesus

Monday, December 11, 2023

Luke 5:17 - 26

The authority of Christ

“What are you thinking in your hearts?”

In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus teaching to a packed house. The Pharisees and scribes came from all over– literally “from every village of Galilee and Judea” to listen to him. I can imagine that some of them were probably open to what he was saying, but more than likely many of them were just waiting for a “Gotcha” moment. And they got that opportunity.

When the faithful companions of a paralytic lowered him down through the roof in front of Jesus, the first thing he did was forgive the man his sins. And the Pharisees and scribes all lost their minds. Forgiveness, they reckoned, only comes from God, which made this guy a blasphemer.

I imagine they were sitting in stunned silence, and the looks on their faces must have been priceless.

Jesus had the divine authority to forgive the man his sins. But healing him from his paralysis wasn’t a given. Jesus physically healed many, many people in his time on Earth, but not all. So it would have been easier just to say “Your sins are forgiven,” and have the boys hoist their friend back up to the roof.

We can’t perceive a person’s interior state of being forgiven. But we can see if a paralyzed person can suddenly walk. The healing was proof to the onlookers of Christ’s authority to forgive sins. Then, instead of looks of horror, we see the Pharisees’ looks of amazement. In this story he wins them over, if for a time.

Our Advent readings remind us that Christ has authority over sin and death. The same Christ that comes to us as an infant in a manger.

Try this: Slowly pray the Profession of Faith, paying extra attention to what we believe about our Lord Jesus Christ as both human and divine.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.  (Fatima prayer.)