Homily for Monday of the 2nd Week of Advent (1)

Homily for Monday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Theme: “Your sins are forgiven”

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches


Homily for Monday December 6 2021

Lk 5:17-26

One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set [him] in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”

The Gospel today is not just a simple story of another miracle of Jesus. Rather, on a more profound level, it is actually a parable in action. It teaches us about the value of the community of believers in the life of faith.

The paralyzed man cannot move. Much as he wanted to go to Jesus, he could not. He is the symbol of anybody who is in mortal sin. It is called ‘mortal’ because the soul is alienated from God. The person’s relationship with God is severed. So, he is deprived of God’s sanctifying grace. He is, therefore, spiritually dead.

Fortunately, the paralyzed man has friends. They put him on a stretcher, and carry him to Jesus. Since the house is packed with people, they bring him up the roof and lowers him down in front of Jesus. The four friends represent the community of believers, or the Church. We are never alone in our journey of faith.

The response of Jesus is quite interesting: “When He saw their faith, he said, ‘As for you, your sins are forgiven.’” There are two things to consider here. First, the faith that Jesus saw is not just the faith of the paralyzed man, but also that of his four friends: “When He saw their faith…” If he had no friends, he would just be confined in his room. And if these friends did not believe, they would not have gone through all the trouble of carrying him and hoisting him up the roof and lowering him down in front of Jesus. It was his friends who brought him to Jesus for healing and forgiveness.

Secondly, in the action of Jesus, it is clear that forgiveness of sins is of more urgent importance than physical healing. It is obvious that they want their friend to be healed physically. But the Lord offered something they did not ask and expect: “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” They must have been surprised…and disappointed. That is not what they came for. But Jesus knows better. Of what use is physical healing when the soul is on the brink of eternal damnation due to unrepented sin?

Nowadays, we often hear many people who claim they can have “Direct Confession to God.” So, they are no longer interested in the sacrament of Confession. The Gospel today proves them totally wrong. When we are in mortal sin, being spiritually paralyzed or dead, we have no capacity to rise up. We need our ‘friends’, the community of believers – the Church. The sacrament of Reconciliation is in the Church. It is, therefore, the Church that brings us to Jesus who forgives us of our sins through sacramental absolution. Then and only then can we stand up again and walk on the path of life and happiness.

We have to be warned, then, that the term “Direct Confession to God” is the devil’s invention so that sinners continually remain under the dominion of sin and evil, never to rise again. St. John Chrysostom reveals the devil’s strategy. He said, “After the sin comes the shame; courage follows repentance. Satan upsets the order: he gives the courage to sin and the shame to repentance.”

That we may better appreciate the value of sacramental Confession, let us consider the words of St. Bernard: “God removes the sin of the one who makes humble confession, and thereby the devil loses the sovereignty he had gained over the human heart.”

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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