Incredible Things

Scripture Reading

One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. 
And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. 
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus. 
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.” 

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies? 
Who but God alone can forgive sins?” 
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts? 
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” 

He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God. 
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”
(Luke 5:17-26)

Scripture Study

5:17 Pharisees: Members of a Jewish renewal movement in Palestine, stringent in their obedience to the Law and concern for legal purity. They are often the accusers and enemies of Jesus (5:30; 6:2, 7; 11:37–54; 16:14).

5:21 forgive sins: Jerusalem’s Temple and priesthood were the official channels of forgiveness under the Old Covenant. Jesus challenges this system, offering reconciliation with God by his own authority and on his own terms. This is part of his mission to inaugurate the New Covenant (Jer 31:31–34). God only: A doctrine implicit in the OT (Ps 103:2–3; Is 43:25) that hints at Jesus’ divine authority to remit sins (Eph 1:7; 1 Jn 1:7; CCC 1441).

5:24 I say to you, rise: The skepticism of the crowd moves Jesus to demonstrate his authority. It is because sickness is often linked with sin that Jesus can display his forgiving power through a physical healing (Ps 107:17; Is 33:24). The outward miracle thus manifests the inward cleansing of the man’s soul.

5:26 they glorified God: Luke often notes this reaction to Jesus’ work (7:16; 13:13; 17:15; 18:43; 23:47).[1]

Scripture Reflection

The Gospel today tells that wonderful story of the healing of the paralytic. People gather by the dozens to hear Jesus, crowding around the doorway of the house. They bring him a paralyzed man, and because there is no way to get him through the door, they climb up on the roof and open a space to lower him down.

Can I suggest a connection between this wonderful narrative and our present evangelical situation? There are an awful lot of Catholics who are paralyzed, unable to move, frozen in regard to Christ and the Church. This might be from doubt, from fear, from anger, from old resentments, from ignorance, or from self-reproach. Some of these reasons might be good; some might be bad.

Your job, as a believer, is to bring them to him to Christ. How? A word of encouragement; a challenge; an explanation; a word of forgiveness; a note, a phone call. We notice the wonderful urgency of these people as they bring the sick man to Jesus. Do we feel the same urgency within his mystical body today?

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 




[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 116.