Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone? When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, why do you raise such questions in your hearts?” (Luke 5:21-22)
A person who cannot be happy with the fortunes of another has a serious problem. A person who is always out to criticise and find faults in everything and everyone has a serious problem. A person who finds it difficult to praise God but constantly complains has a serious problem. What is this serious problem? It is hatred for others arising from bitterness!
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus was in a house teaching the word of God, and suddenly, he felt the power of God within him to heal. Behold, at that same time, some person brought a paralytic to Jesus. By forgiving his sins before curing his paralysis, Jesus teaches us that physical healing follows when we do away with sin. Reconcile with God today. Go for confession and resolve to refrain from past sins. You will experience healing from all angles.
Jesus’ action in today’s Gospel passage confirms that He is the long-awaited Messiah. In today’s reading, Isaiah’s prophecy has come into play: “The eyes of the blind shall be open, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame man leap like a deer and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.”
Ordinarily, you should assume that when something good happens to you, people should be happy for you. Isn’t it? The bitter truth is that there will always be scribes and Pharisees around us – people who take offence knowing we are happy. They pretend to be our friends, but the moment our status changes (when things improve for us), they show their true colours.
The scribes and Pharisees plotted the death of Jesus instead of seeing that the miracle was proof of His Divinity. They didn’t believe that God could take our human flesh. This is what we celebrate at Christmas – the incarnation. The question is: “Do you believe that God has taken our flesh?”
On the other hand, do you sometimes catch yourself criticising others? Do you find it difficult to celebrate the success of others? Examine your heart; you might be harbouring bitterness, which often leads to hatred. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Celebrate the progress of others. Instead of winning every argument, look for ways to incarnate Jesus in our world.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, may I be an instrument of joy this advent. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Isaiah 35:1-10, Ps. 85:9-14, Luke 5:17-26).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu