Monday, July 21, 2014


"And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed...."  And Jesus, seeing the faith of his friends, says to the man, "Son, be of good cheer: thy sins are forgiven thee."  Then certain scribes who were present accused Jesus in their hearts of blasphemy--for God alone has the power to forgive sins (which is not the same as forgiving a person who has offended us, which we are commanded to do).    

But as the Godman, Jesus discerned the secret thoughts of their hearts and asks, which is easier: to say "Thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, Arise and walk?"  And to prove that He really does have the power and authority to forgive sins, he commands the sick of the palsy  to "Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house."

But it might well be asked: wasn't the whole reason for bringing the man to Jesus that he might be healed of the palsy?  And could not Jesus have done just that, without first forgiving his sins?  Of course He might have, but then the man would have departed in a worst state than when he had arrived.  For the crucial issue here was not the ailment itself, but rather the underlying cause.  After all, sickness and disease are unpleasant and inconvenient, but there is, nevertheless, an inevitable cure for every human infirmity: death, which is the natural limit God had set for all of our physical pain and suffering.

The consequences of sin, however--unless we sincerely repent--extend into all eternity.  For it is sin alone that breaks our communion with God, and apart from His grace, we shall be consigned forever to a hell of our own making.  Thus the Mysteries of the Church are appointed for the salvation of soul and body, for as a psychosomatic unity, a man's soul and body must either be saved together, or else he is lost forever. 

This is why God so often allows sickness and disease to fall upon us.  It is either a wake-up call--that all is not as it should be in our lives--or else it can become the very means by which we work out our salvation through patient endurance.  In any case, it behooves us to endure with gratitude whatever circumstances God allows in our lives, that by these means we may be proved worthy of eternal life in His heavenly Kingdom.

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