Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tearing the Roof Apart

1. It is I, I, who wipe out, for my own sake, your offenses; your sins I remember no more (Isaiah 43:25). A sin is an offense against God, a disobedience of His commands. Sin harms our relationship with God, and our relationship with other people. Sin can even be so deadly as to cause us to lose our destiny in heaven. (In other words go to hell). One might imagine that God could just let all those things go and let people do whatever they wanted to with no consequences. (God loves us after all, how could He bear to punish us with Hell?) But really, even if those with deadly sin entered into glory, they would be miserable being surrounded on every side by the love of God and in the presence of those who do all in their power to serve the Lord. Those who prefer darkness shrink from the light.
2. What the Lord is talking about in the prophet Isaiah is not simply to acquit us of crimes of which we are truly guilty, to pretend that we have done nothing wrong or say it simply does not matter. Rather if the Lord forgets something, then it does not exist. By forgetting our sins, the Lord does not simply declare us to be innocent, but He makes us innocent. Observe the paralytic in the Gospel of Mark: Jesus did not simply declare the man’s sins forgiven, He took away his paralysis which was a consequence of those sins. Jesus made him whole. And as a result of this great sign, all those present glorified God.
3. A notable feature of this healing miracle is that the paralyzed man could not come to Jesus on his own. But his friends desired his healing so much that they tore open the roof and let him down in front of Jesus. And Jesus did not heal the paralytic simply because of the paralytic’s faith. Rather, it was the faith of his friends that motivated Jesus to heal. Jesus saw their faith. We are called to imitate these wonderful friends. Sometimes others are simply unable to come to Jesus on their own. Maybe they are afraid, maybe they believe they are not worthy, maybe sin has paralyzed them. In that case, we must place them before Jesus in faith, begging Him to heal the sins that paralyze them. We must never give up. If the friends of the paralytic did not have an active faith, he would have remained not only paralyzed, but oppressed by his sins. In the same way, there are many areas of our lives which we must bind together to be effective. We need our family, we need our friends, we need our parish, we need our diocese, we need the whole Church.

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