Daily Gospel Reflection: Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Bishop Robert Barron
January 12, 2024
Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mk 2:1-12
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” –he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in our Gospel today, Jesus says matter-of-factly before healing the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Shocked, the Pharisees respond, “He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
They were quite right, of course, which is the whole point. If you had hurt me, I could with some legitimacy offer you my personal forgiveness of your offense. But if someone else had harmed you, I could scarcely offer that person my forgiveness for his sin. The only way that such a statement could be anything but blasphemous would be if I were the one who is offended in every sin. And this is what the Pharisees correctly intuited.
G.K. Chesterton said that even those who reject the doctrine of the Incarnation (like the Pharisees) are different for having heard it. The claim that God became one of us changes the imagination, compelling a reassessment of both God and the world. This odd assertion is made, implicitly or explicitly, on practically every page of the New Testament.
Therefore, when Jesus forgives the paralytic’s sin, the Pharisees respond that only God can forgive sins, thereby, despite themselves, professing faith in the Good News.