7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 43:16-19,21-22,24-25 II:
1 And when he returned to Caper'na-um after some days, it was reported that he was at home.
2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them.
3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay.
5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven."
6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,
7 "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts?
9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your pallet and walk'?
10 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he said to the paralytic--
11 "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home."
12 And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
- Context. Chapter 1, read in the previous 4 Sundays, Mark described a successful beginning of Jesus’ ministry. In 2:1-3:6, read today and in the next two Sundays, leaders and scholars challenged Jesus with five legal issues, with increasingly hostile feeling:
- 2:1-12: Some scribes quietly held “questions in their hearts” when they heard that Jesus forgave sins, which they considered a blasphemy.
- 2:13-17: The scribes and Pharisees started to speak up, though only to the disciple and not directly with Jesus, about Him eating with sinners.
- 2:18-22: People started to challenge Jesus directly because his disciples did not fast.
- 2:23-28: Pharisees accused Jesus’ disciples of breaking the Sabbath law.
- 3:1-6: Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus because He healed on the Sabbath.
- The bracketing technique: two very similar verses bracket a point that the writer wants to emphasize. “Questions in their hearts” in verses 6 and 8 thus emphasizes verse 7, “who can forgive sin by God alone?” Similarly, “Rise, take up your pallet and walk” in verses 9 and 11 emphasizes verse 10, “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
- Judaism then believed that only God can forgive sins, and only in heaven. For anyone else but God to claim this power is blasphemy, which is the conclusion of the high priest at Jesus’ trial (14:64).
One Main Point
Jesus is the Son of God, who forgives our sins now.
- Do I, like the Pharisees, resort to laws and logics to accuse people with increasing hatred, or do I try to see the presence of Jesus in other people?
- Do I truly believe in and sense the effect of the forgiving power of God, right here and now?
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community