Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Amos 7:10-17; Matthew 9:1-8)
It is said that St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) could tell when a person needed confession. His eyes seemed to look into one’s soul. A similar capacity was shown in the movie last year about Mr. Rogers. Seeing a young man with an injured nose, he knew that it was due to more than the excuse he was given. In today’ gospel Jesus exhibits this ability of looking into the heart of people.
A paralytic is brought to Jesus. Ostensibly he comes to have his body healed. But Jesus recognizes that the corporal defect is not what is most ailing the man. Jesus forgives the paralytic’s sin causing the most distress. The religious workers comment that Jesus’ action violates God’s sovereignty over sin. Jesus then shows that he has received authority to forgive sins by curing the paralytic’s physical ailment. The passage ends with the people glorifying God for giving men the power to forgive.
We should hear the word “men” as referring to priests today. God has given to the priests of the Church authority to forgive sins. We are not helpless if we find ourselves guilty of an unjust deed. We do not have to journey to a faraway place to make a sin offering. We only have to repent of our wrong-doing, confess our sin to a priest, and sincerely promise to avoid the sin in the future. We can put aside the worry of having done something that will upend us forever.