Powerful Faith

Scripture Reading

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
“Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what 
they were thinking to themselves, 
so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once, 
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

(Mark 2:1-12)

Scripture Study

2:5 their faith: i.e., the faith of the four men who carried the paralytic (2:4). ● The forgiveness that Jesus confers upon the helpless paralytic in response to the faith of others (the four men) mirrors the effects of Infant Baptism, where he continues to regenerate helpless children through the intercessory faith of their parents (CCC 1250–53).

2:6 the scribes: Scholars of the Mosaic Law and its traditional interpretation. With the exception of one episode (12:28–34), they are cast as Jesus’ adversaries in Mark.

2:7 It is blasphemy!: The scribes are incensed that Jesus claims for himself a prerogative that belongs only to God: the power to remit sins (Ps 103:3; Is 43:25; CCC 1441). They have misjudged the matter as blasphemy, which was a capital crime in ancient Israel (Lev 24:16). Note that Jesus manifests his divinity both by absolving the man’s sins and by exposing the unspoken disapproval of his critics (2:8).

2:9 Which is easier: Forgiveness is easier to claim than to accomplish, since its effects cannot be verified by observation. For this reason, Jesus restores the man’s body as a visible demonstration of what he has already done invisibly in his soul.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Gospel focuses on the faith of the four men who brought the paralytic to Jesus for healing. How often the Bible compels us to meditate on the meaning of faith! We might say that the Scriptures rest upon faith, remain inspired at every turn by the spirit of faith.

Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God. Faith is openness to what God will reveal, do, and invite. It should be obvious that in dealing with the infinite, all-powerful person who is God, we are never in control.

One of the most fundamental statements of faith is this: your life is not about you. You’re not in control. This is not your project. Rather, you are part of God’s great design. To believe this in your bones and to act accordingly is to have faith. When we operate out of this transformed vision, amazing things can happen, for we have surrendered to “a power already at work in us that can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” Even a tiny bit of faith makes an extraordinary difference.

– 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), 68.