Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday of the Second Week of Advent

(Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 5:17-26)

Once a man invited family and friends to his home for a party.  No liquor was served, but a hearty meal was eaten.  Prayers were also said in thanksgiving.  The party celebrated the man’s sobriety.  Fifteen years to the day he had given up drinking.

Of course, drinking is not bad in itself.  Nor can alcoholics be blamed for every drink they take.  As Alcoholics Anonymous teaches, compulsive drinking is a disease that diminishes moral responsibility.  But at some point alcoholics must account for their actions while intoxicated.  When they repeatedly do careless work and act abusively at home after drinking, they must either stop or recognize their sin.  Then their abstaining from drink becomes the source of complete healing.

In the gospel Jesus forgives the sin of the paralytic as the first step toward total healing.  As Jesus suggests, his saving of the man’s soul is a greater claim to his being the Messiah than his healing of the man’s lameness. But to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah in the first reading, Jesus makes the lame man “leap like a stag.”

Jesus comes to save all of us from our sins.  He brings forgiveness when we repent our wrongdoing.  As we turn away from our vices – whether obvious ones like drinking too much or more subtle ones like looking at others as objects of desire – Jesus will provide us the grace to live gracious and loving lives.