1st Reading: 1 Sam 8: 4-7, 10-22a
Psalm: Ps 89: 16-17, 18-19
Gospel: Mk 2: 1-12
Today's readings, I think, are perfect readings for the beginning of this new semester, and the beginning of the Year of Mercy. The transition between these two readings demonstrates the abundance of God's mercy, and gives us some beautiful insight into our own lives.
In the first reading, we see Israel rejecting God as their king. They say to Samuel, "We want to have our own king. We want to do it our way. We want a king like all of the other nations, but our king will be better. He will treat us fairly. He won't rule over us with an iron fist. He'll be different."
Each and every one of us has that one or two areas in our life where we reject God as our king. That particular sin that we confess over and over, and is always seeming to hold us back, keeping us from reaching the next level of our life with God; that next level of virtue and holiness. They cripple us. And I think there are three things in today's Gospel for us to learn; three words of encouragement that Jesus has for us in striving against these sins.
- First, we are told not to get discouraged. It is very easy for us to say to ourselves, "I'm so tired of confessing this same thing over and over again, and surely God is tired of hearing it. Surely he will not forgive it this time. But, we see in the Gospel that these are the thoughts of the scribe. "He can't forgive that sin. Who can forgive that sin?" Jesus can, and He wants to. He wants to over and over again, day after day, no matter how many times you come to confess it.
- A second lesson is that not only does Jesus forgive the crippled man's sins, but he also heals his cripple. Jesus doesn't want us to be crippled by these sins. He wants to bring healing to us. This is the abundance of his mercy. Brothers, go to confession. Jesus wants you to receive his healing, he wants you to stop struggling with sin, and he wants to give you the grace of loving him fully.
- The third lesson that comes from this Gospel is that this crippled man needed the help of others to bring him to Jesus. He had friends who wanted his healing so much, that the not only brought him to Jesus, but they climbed up onto the roof of a house and dug through the roof, so they they could get their friend to Jesus for healing. Brothers, there is a seminary full of your friends and brothers who are ready, willing, and able to bring you to Jesus. All you have to do is ask. Whether it means joining some kind of fraternal group, or maybe just a couple of close friends, let your brothers bring you to Jesus to receive his healing.
Jesus wants to heal us. Allow yourself to be healed, so that one day, we may all proclaim for ever the goodness of the Lord.