Memorial of Saint Ambrose, bishop
(Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 5:17-26)
It was said that the windows of St. John Paul II’s papal chambers were lighted until the midnight hour. After spending his day in meeting with people and in prayer, the pope studied and wrote at night. His work habits paralleled those of St. Ambrose. The bishop of Milan was known for both his pastoral counselling and his eloquent preaching. As an aspiring Catholic, St. Augustine wanted to confer with Ambrose but usually found him with a line of petitioners or deep in thought. We see Jesus in a similarly committed ministry in today’s gospel.
A crowd surrounds Jesus as he both heals and teaches. Determined believers gain access to him by opening a section of the roof. They lower a man who is paralyzed for Jesus to see. Evidently Jesus, who is said to know the thoughts of people, understands that the paralytic needs forgiveness more than mobility. When he perceives also the Pharisees’ condemnation for saying that the paralytic sins are forgive, he heals the man as well.
We like to go to Jesus with our needs. He is there to help us. Perhaps we should ask ourselves if our greatest need is not also forgiveness. Feeling sorry for ourselves, we try to manipulate attention from others. Feeling annoyed by another’s mannerism, we react with an insult disguised as a joke. Let us recognize these sins and then take comfort in the reconciliation Jesus offers us in the Eucharist.