Reflection on the Daily Readings for 2/22/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Feb.22, 2009.  Isaiah
43:18-19.21-22.24-25. Psalm 41:2-3.4-5.13-14. II Cor.1:18-22. Mark 2:1-12.
Lectionary # 81:

"Jesus was delivering the word of God to them." What a beautiful
sentence and thought for us to ponder.  We know from Isaiah and from the
Gospels that the word of God is extremely effective and that it reaches
from end to end and is sharper than a two edged sword.  For us believers
listening and responding to the word in faith is what makes us realize how
effective God's and Jesus' words are.  They are transforming events in our
lives if we have faith the size and potentiality of a mustard seed.  We do
when we live out our baptismal gifts and promises. That is why the
paralytic was both healed and had his sins forgiven.  He also had four
faithful friends who had a lot of faith in Jesus to do something for this
friend of theirs who could not walk.  The story is amusing to us who do not
live in homes where we can dig a whole in the mud and thatched roof to let
down someone.  Jesus was there in the room delivering the word of God when
they "delivered" their friend to him.

Mark is actually stitching two types of stories together. The first
is a miracle story but connected with it is a pronouncment from Jesus of a
moral nature--sin can be forgiven by one who is divine as Jesus is.  Both
his authority as the Son of God and his miraculous powers are linked or
stitched together.  Naturally, Jesus confronts those who are speaking or
thinking against this power and saying that Jesus blasphemes. They need to
be startled out of their pre-determined judgments about what Jesus can or
cannot do.  The physical miracle speaks for itself but it also confirms
what Jesus affirms he can do, namely, to forgive sin.  Both for any of us
are impossible unless God gives us such power. Jesus, however, is the Son
of God and has both the authority to forgive and the power to heal a
paralytic.  His question joins both effects of his word to demonstrate this
to the sceptics and to produce awe in the crowd inside the room.  "Which is
easier to say?  Your sins are forgiven or to say 'Stand up! and walk." Then
he cures the man. The sceptics have to think twice about their rigid ways
and their jealousy and their lack of faith in the person of Jesus.  The
four friends are rewarded with a restoration of health to the paralytic
while the simple folk are awestruck. They have the right attitude and
growing toward having faith in Jeus, "We have never seen anything like

Each Sunday Jesus' words are presented to us in the reading from the
Gospel. That word helps us prepare for the Eucharist which is the gift of
Jesus himself to us.  We take on the same saying as the onlookers, "We have
never seen anything like this."  We affirm that Jesus is the Son of God who
forgives us and heals us for he is the Savior of the world.  We pray,
"Lord, increase our faith." May we be like the four friends of the
paralytic. Amen.