The Paralysis of Sin

Matthew 9:1-8
Amos 7:10-17 / Ps 19:8-11

When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’
(Matthew 9:2)

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 got back into the boat, crossed the lake again, and came to his hometown. 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

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 flow 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 from this malady. 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, was in coma for two years before he finally succumbed to the inevitable.

Strokes are preventable, and their incidence can be caused by many factors, like the food we eat, a sedentary lifestyle, heredity, or 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 mat and go home.”

Heal our afflicted loved ones, Lord, and let them go home to their family whole again. You are our best recourse to recover and live a full and meaningful life. Amen.

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