The Lord announces his forgiveness.
A prayer for the Lord's forgiveness and healing
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
Paul affirms God's faithfulness, even those he has had to change his plans to visit the Corinthians.
Jesus tells the paralyzed man that his sins are forgiven and also heals his body.
Background on the Gospel Reading
In today's Gospel we continue to hear Mark's reports about Jesus' preaching and healing. Jesus has returned to Capernaum, which Mark refers to as his home. Jesus' popularity with the people thrives, and he preaches to them. The crowds are so great that the house is filled, and no one can enter through the door. Determined to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus, four men break through the roof and lower the man into the house.
Jesus was moved by the faith displayed by the four determined men, and so he addressed the paralyzed man, declaring that his sins are forgiven. This response may strike us as odd, but in Jesus' time, illness was thought to be a sign of sinfulness. Reading this passage in the context of the overall narrative of Mark's Gospel, Jesus appears to be upping the ante in the mounting tension with the Jewish authorities. Forgiveness of sins was a power that Jews believed to be from God alone. To claim the authority to forgive sins was blasphemous. This tension will continue to grow throughout Mark's Gospel. In the end, blasphemy will be among the accusations made against Jesus, leading to his death on the cross.
Mark reports that some of the scribes were present and heard Jesus' words to the paralyzed man. Mark then describes the reaction of the scribes, who are now beginning to question Jesus' words. They are alarmed. Jesus knew what the scribes were thinking and responded to their accusations of blasphemy by curing the man's paralysis, offering that as a sign of his authority to forgive sins. All who witnessed this healing are said to have been astonished.
This passage highlights for us the connection between faith and Jesus' healing power. Jesus is said to have been moved by the faith of the paralyzed man's friends. Our prayers for those who are sick bring to them the healing presence of Jesus.