St. Joseph Catholic Church - Toledo, OH

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February 22, 2009 Homily - Healing of the Paralytic

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Mark 2:1-12 Healing of the Paralytic
Homily Notes for 7th Sunday Ordinary Time - February 22nd, 2009

From reading Cornelius a Lapide
-- note the great faith, hope and devotion in Christ expressed by those who carry the paralytic to him: the text is explicit about Jesus noticing their faith and are responding to it
-- it is not explicit whether the paralytic himself is included as one of the possessors of the faith... but it is very possible that he himself desired to be carried to Jesus... St. John Chrysostom and others have said that he would not have heard the words of  pardon had not he himself had faith
-- the faith is a belief in miracles, and particularly in the possibility of this miracle
-- Psalm 81:10  "Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it."; opening the mouth is parallel to all the work done to bring the paralytic to Jesus
-- note how he calls him a child/son who has been forgiven by God's grace
-- note the triple miracle: reading the minds of those who were murmuring against him; healing the paralytic; proving and demonstrating by this physical healing that he had the power for the spiritual healing of forgiveness of sins
 -- the perpetual and obstinate error of the religious leaders was to think Jesus to be only a man... and so they called his forgiveness of sins blasphemy, because he appropriated in their mind what belonged to God alone
-- Jesus is the knower of hearts, proven by the fact that he knew what they were saying in their hearts... and this knowledge of hearts also belongs to God alone
 -- St. Jerome: Et quodammodo tacens, loquitur: Eadem potentia et majestate, qua cogitationes vestras intueor, possum et hominibus peccata dimittere...  "One speaks in a certain way while being silent: With the very same power and majesty with which I intuit your thoughts, I can also absolve men of sins."
-- of itself forgiving sins is more difficult than healing the paralytic, even more difficult than creating heaven and earth... nothing is more contrary to God than sin... the remission of sins is of a higher order than the natural order, since it is of the order supernatural of grace
-- note the title "Son of Man", showing that he remits sin, not only as God by his omnipotence, but also as a man authoritatively and meritoriously
-- the title "Son of Man" reflects the Divine being mentioned in the book Daniel, yet also emphasizes the human side of Jesus... one might say the divinity and humanity are combined in this title
-- the excellent power of Christ consists in four aspects: the merit and power of his passion operates in the sacraments; in his name the sacraments are sanctified; he who gave power to the sacraments can institute them; the effect of the sacraments (here the remission of sins and grace given) he can confer without sacrament (unlike any other man, who must go through the sacraments, since God made them necessary by command)
-- the paralytic picks up his mat at once, because what he is commanded by Christ is empowered by Christ
-- picking up his mat helps to show how complete the healing was
-- in a similar manner St. Bernard cured with the sign of the cross a paralytic for whom the King of France was interceding
-- tropological/moral application: the paralysis is any vice of the soul, but especially pleasure of the flesh, out of which is born acedia, which lays the soul down and makes it unable to raise itself to virtue, to God, to Heaven... those who carry the soul which is paralyzed are pastors, preachers, confessors, etc.... praying that Jesus will restore the soul to the capacity of spiritual things
-- the confessional helps one realize where he has been paralyzed and prostrate
-- anagogical/heavenly meaning: there is an echo of Psalm 122:1  "I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!"" It refers to taking up your glorified body and walking into the heavenly mansion

Catechism of the Catholic Church

1421 The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health,3 has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

3 Mk 2:1-12.

1428 Christ's call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, "clasping sinners to her bosom, [is] at once holy and always in need of purification, [and] follows constantly the path of penance and renewal."18 This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a "contrite heart," drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first.19

18  Lumen Gentium 8.3.
19  Ps 51:17; cf. Jn 6:44; 12:32; 1Jn 4:10.

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called "perfect" (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51

51 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1676.

1453 The contrition called "imperfect" (or "attrition") is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin's ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental
absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52

52
  Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1678; 1705.

Points to Ponder

-- Do I want to help others get to Jesus for healing, spiritual and physical?
-- Do I appreciate enough those who try to bring me (more closely) to Jesus, especially those who are willing to correct me and point out my sin?
-- Is there in me due wonder in response to the fact that God -- in creating in me a new heart -- is actually doing something harder than creating or healing the material world?
-- Have I thought fully enough about the meaning of, "Who but God can forgive sins?"
-- Do I realize the need for God's grace even in order to have true contrition?
-- Have I considered the dynamic of Divine Love that both forgives my sin, but also makes up for what is lacking in my contrition, confirms and completes my sorrow? Love heals the breach I have caused with Love.
 -- Do I understand, then, how the Sacrament of Penance is necessary by both command and by nature?
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 March 2009 21:20  

Iustus germinabit sicut lilium: et florebit in aeternum ante Dominum.
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