Amos 7:10-17 / Ps 19
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.’
Repentance comes before we heal;
With sin, miracles won’t happen.
Our faith can help, but not until
All our sins have been forgiven.
Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” Then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, Who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9:1-8)
Forgiveness of sins and healing go together as a consequence of faith. When our Lord saw the faith of the people who brought a paralytic to Him for healing, the first thing He did was to forgive the paralytic’s sins before He healed him. A person paralyzed by sin has to reconcile himself to God first before he can receive God’s healing grace. One in the state of sin won’t be receptive to God’s gift, even if freely given. Besides, God’s forgiveness is more important than His healing, as the health of the body can’t be more important than the health of the soul which is eternal.
The main cause of paralysis today is stroke, or “brain attack”. It occurs when blood flowing to the brain is disrupted or blocked by a blood clot, or when a defective blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the brain tissues. In both cases, the oxygen-deprived brain cells die, the brain stops functioning properly, and the central nervous system can no longer send messages to the muscles, resulting in paralysis.
Cerebral thrombosis (blood clot), caused by a stroke, and the more life-threatening cerebral hemorrhage (aneuryism) have become such common maladies today that even much younger people have not been spared. A brother-in-law is still recuperating from a partial paralysis caused by a stroke and undergoing therapy, and a nephew, who was only 33 years old finally succumbed to the inevitable, two years after the attack happened.
Strokes are preventable, and their incidence can be caused by many factors, like the food we eat, a sedentary lifestyle, heredity, and the discipline we apply to lead a fit and healthy life. We should regard our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit so that we can take better care of them. We have heard it often said, “Our bodies are gifts from God; how we take care of them, and how we use them for God’s glory is our gift to Him.”
Many victims of stroke manage to recover from their paralysis. The first thing is to have a positive outlook, and commit one’s self to a new life in Christ. Prayers from friends and family, and community can never be taken for granted. Jesus Christ, Who is full of mercy and compassion, will one day say, “Have faith; take up your stretcher and go home.”
Heal our afflicted loved ones, Lord, and let them go home to their family whole again.