Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week after Pentecost
The crowds that witnessed the healing of the man with the palsy
were filled with awe at seeing it, and praised God for giving such powers to men.
St Matthew 9.8
How much more should we not glorify God, we who know that the miracle was performed, not by a man, but by a God, who is still living and working among us by his Sacraments and the power he has given his priests?
A man sick of the palsy, impotent in body, more impotent in soul, enchained by sin, hears that Jesus has returned to Capharnaum. For some time, he has been longing to meet him, and now he knows where to find him he implores his friends to carry him to the feet of the Miracle-worker.
Jesus had already seen him and loved him just because he was helpless; it is for the sick and the impotent that he has come down to earth; what need of a physician have those who are in full health?
Jesus has but one desire: to go about doing good. He became man, not to extinguish but to inflame the smoking flax, to ment the broken reed, to set the prisoner free, to announce liberty to the oppressed, and to bring about his Father’s year of grace, when he, the Lamb of God, willhave taken away the sins of the world. For that his Father sent him; for that he thirsts, because it is the divine will that he should bring freedom and grace to all those who hope in the Lord.
Therefore Jesus rejoices when he sees this man come, in his time of need, to him who can make him rich. He bends over him and bids him take courage; is not all well with those to whom Jesus whispers,
Be of good heart
The sick man had found a Saviour even before he came to him; but at the sight of his supernatural purity and holiness, he must have realized his own sinfulness, and maybe hesitated to approach him. Now, carried by his friends, he lies in safety at the feet of him whom he had desired — truly a love-meeting!
He lies there, full of courate. He sees that the Saint, far from being put off by his sins, takes them away:
Thy sins are forgiven.
He feels that his sould is healed, that the words he has heard come from God; peace and joy stream through him. The Lord gives him, not only the grace of absolution, but also the grace of believing that he is absolved. All is so well with him that he asks for nothing more.
His peace and joy are in strong contrast with the jealousy, the criticisms of the Scribes who are standing round, and who dare to accuse the young Prophet of blasphemy.
Their evil thoughts do not escape the Saviour, who, to give them a proof of his power, heals the sick man:
Why do you cherish wicked thoughts in your hearts? Tell me, which command is more lightly given, to say to a man, Thy sins are forgiven, or to say, Rise up, and walk? And now, to convince you that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins whilehe is on earth (here he spoke to the palsied man), Rise up, take thy bed with thee, and go home.
The lame man rose, stood upright on his two feet and walked with unfaltering step, his eyes radiant with the light Christ had shed into his soul.
The crowds, at first silent and awe-struck, began to glorify God. They had not yet understood Christ was himself God, but at least they realized that his words and deeds were inspired by the Godhead and were ready to receive the Gospel that was shortly to be announced to them.
We too have every reason to be awe-struck and to glorify God; his spirit still works among us. He has given to the men who are his priests the power to forgive sins and to heal the sick. He has anointed those who take is place among us, that they may pour his balm into our hearts, the balm that, from his divine Heart, flows down the wood of the Cross into all souls that need its healing power.
O Jesus, you who are the good Samaritan of all wounded souls and the divine joy of all those whom you have healed, we thank you for your power that still lives on among us. We, like the sick of the Gospel, can still touch you and feel the virtue that goes out of you. Never let us grow indifferent to the miracles that you do for us, or take them for granted.
Grant us grace to watch in your love, and to adore, by our lives, our words, thoughts, and deeds, the great things you do in us, glorifying you, our almighty, all-merciful God!
from With the Church: Meditations on the Missal and the Breviary
edited by Father Mathias Goosens OFM
published 1962, cum approbatione ecclesiatica