Forgiveness and Healing

Matthew 9: 1-8
Amos 7: 10-17 / Psa 19

Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.
(Matthew 9:2)

In times when we are suffering,
Doubts and fears do not entertain;
Just believe God is forgiving,
His mercy makes us whole again.

Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to His own town. Some men brought to Him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, “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 that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — He said to the paralyzed man — “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then 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 man. (Matthew 9:1-8)

Reflection

Jesus knew that in the minds of all Jews, all forms of disease were the result of sin. That was why when they saw a man blind from birth, Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2) The Jews believed that Yahweh, their God, was “a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate ME” (Ex. 20:5). But Jesus demonstrated the second part of that passage in Exodus — “but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Ex 20:6) — by forgiving all sins, whether they were the causes of these sins or not. The healing of the paralytic was one of the many cases where Jesus showed God’s love by healing the spirit first (by forgiveness) before healing the physical ailment. At the same time our Lord took this opportunity to prove His divinity and authority to forgive sins.

When our first parents sinned in the Garden of Eden (by disobedience), their original sin brought the curse of death upon the whole mankind. This curse came in various forms, like wars, natural calamities, and all kinds of sickness and disease. God had to save His creation by becoming a man in Jesus Christ, restoring order and love by the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, and the healing power of our faith. As we have seen in all the lessons in the Bible, this period of restoration has been going on for thousands of years up to the present time. Our first parent’s original sin may have brought the curse of death upon us, but through the mercy and love of God this curse has also been turned into a blessing. Death, after all, ends all our pains and suffering, and provides the door to eternal life in His kingdom. And in many cases, the body’s ailment is the spirit’s cure. Many a sinner stricken with cancer have turned to God for comfort and found reconciliation. The affliction of loved ones have also made us more prayerful. In other instances, the sacrament of Penance and Anointing of the Sick have been known to heal the terminally ill. One of our sisters in the Brotherhood was diagnosed with leukemia, and while in the ICU, asked for a priest for her confession and last rites. Her husband related that a few days afterwards, tests revealed that his wife’s hemoglobin count had become normal and there were no more traces of the disease. The forgiveness of her sins had miraculously led to her complete healing.

The work of forgiveness, reconciliation and healing started by our Lord Jesus Christ goes on today in our Church and communities through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through our prayers, let us help those who are laid low by life-threatening ailments, and ask God to heal them and give them another chance to be fully reconciled to HIM. I personally request you, dear reader to pray for my friend, Jun L., who is now in the CCU in life support system.

Father God, Jesus said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). And so, Lord, we beseech You to let Your miracle of healing happen in the life of (a friend or relative) who is at this moment on the verge of death. This we pray, hoping that it may be according to Your will. Amen.

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