December 6, 2011
Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent
Father Frank Formolo, LC
Listen to the podcast version here.
One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and
teachers of the law, who had come from every village
of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there, 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 Jesus 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 one 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.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord you are the author
of all things and you have power to forgive sins.
Though my faith is still weak I do believe in
you. And I also trust in your goodness and mercy.
Here I am before you in prayer, longing once more
to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and
Petition: Lord, help me to seek you in my
life above all else.
1. The Pharisees’ Faith: The Pharisees sat
in front of Christ watching him cure the sick. Earlier
they had seen many other miracles, but despite what they
saw they could not bring themselves to believe in Christ.
Miracle after miracle couldn’t change their mind. Jesus decides to
give them a decisive miracle so that they will believe.
He decides to cure the paralytic to show his power
to forgive sins. Since disease for the Pharisees was a
sign of sin, they should have been ready to accept
Jesus’ message of healing and forgiveness. But they were too
wrapped up in seeking their own plans and protecting their
own honor to discern God’s loving mercy behind what they
witnessed. How often do we want God to give us
a sign so we can follow his plan? And how
often are we not open to what he tells us,
simply and directly because we’re too focused on achieving our
2. The Paralytic’s Faith: The paralytic needed no signs.
He believed Jesus could help him. His faith was so
strong he would not let the difficulties overcome him. He
couldn’t walk so he found someone to carry him. When
he arrived he couldn’t get to Christ, so his men
brought him in through the roof. He was determined to
see Christ because he knew what Christ could do for
him. His faith was so strong it moved him to
action. He had a living faith, which goes far beyond
mere ideas. His faith moved him to find our Lord
no matter the difficulties. What have I done to seek
Christ, to meet him face to face? What have I
been prepared to do in order to receive his grace?
Do I give up my prayer or my apostolate at
the first difficulty?
3. For God’s Glory: Jesus didn’t perform
this miracle for himself or his own glory. He sought
only God’s glory. We see how everyone glorifies God after
the miracle. It’s almost as if Christ is forgotten. Christ
sought only to do what would glorify the Father. How
often do we seek our own glory when we work
on the apostolate or perform an act of charity? How
often do we hope someone will remember us and say
“Thank You” although we are here to build Christ’s Kingdom
for God’s glory alone? We need to constantly renew our
purity of intention.
Dialogue with Christ: Lord, how great was
the faith of the paralytic! He was humble enough to
find you and strong enough in his faith that nothing
could keep him from you. Grant me the gift of
a humble heart and a strong faith so I can
be constant and dedicated in seeking to encounter you in
my life and in fulfilling your will for your glory
and the good of others alone.
Resolution: Today I will
look for solutions to the problems that come my way,
and I will renew my intention to perform my duties
for God’s glory throughout the day.