19 Feb – Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
Christ Forgives Our Sins
Today we say Yes to the Lord who comes to forgive us our sins, and we praise him who shows such mercy to the poor and the weak.
– The Sunday Missal
Thus says the Lord:
No need to recall the past,
no need to think about what was done before.
See, I am doing a new deed,
even now it comes to light; can you not see it?
Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness,
paths in the wilds.
The people I have formed for myself
will sing my praises.
Jacob, you have not invoked me,
you have not troubled yourself, Israel, on my behalf.
Instead you have burdened me with your sins,
troubled me with your iniquities.
I it is, I it is, who must blot out everything
and not remember your sins.
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
I swear by God’s truth, there is no Yes and No about what we say to you. The Son of God, the Christ Jesus that we proclaimed among you – I mean Silvanus and Timothy and I – was never Yes and No: with him it was always Yes, and however many the promises God made, the Yes to them all is in him. That is why it is ‘through him’ that we answer Amen to the praise of God. Remember it is God himself who assures us all, and you, of our standing in Christ, and has anointed us, marking us with his seal and giving us the pledge, the Spirit, that we carry in our hearts.
When Jesus returned to Capernaum, word went round that he was back; and so many people collected that there was no room left, even in front of the door. He was preaching the word to them when some people came bringing him a paralytic carried by four men, but as the crowd made it impossible to get the man to him, they stripped the roof over the place where Jesus was; and when they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic lay. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some scribes were sitting there, and they thought to themselves, ‘How can this man talk like that? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God?’ Jesus, inwardly aware that this was what they were thinking, said to them, ‘Why do you have these thoughts in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven” or to say, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he turned to the paralytic – ‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.’ And the man got up, picked up his stretcher at once and walked out in front of everyone, so that they were all astounded and praised God saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’
Who can forgive sins but God?
Forgiveness does not come easy. For years, I have been holding on to an unforgiveness in my heart. Someone very close to me hurt me deeply without an explanation for what he did. I’ve tried everything to forgive this person to no avail. I’ve attended talks, seminars, workshops on forgiveness; I’ve consulted friends, counsellors, spiritual directors, but no one can tell me how to forgive. They all tell me to forgive, that I must forgive, but no one can tell me exactly how to. It’s not that I don’t want to, but I don’t know how to.
In fact, forgiveness is so difficult that Jesus, in today’s gospel reading, compares it to the healing of a paralysed man. Forgiveness is tougher than healing the sick, even for God. The more intense the love, the deeper the hurt. If we believe that God loves us, then we must necessarily believe that when we hurt Him, it hurts like nothing else. But whenever we ask God for forgiveness, His answer is ‘Yes’; it can’t be easy.
Perhaps what the scribes in the gospel reading say is true: “Who can forgive sins but God?” Indeed only God can forgive sins but we as His believers are called to emulate Him even though it may be difficult. Let us ask God to grant us the strength and courage to embrace this gift of forgiveness.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: We pray for all people who harbour deep hurts and the inability to forgive, may we learn to let go and let God do the forgiving for us.
Thanksgiving: Thank you God for showing me that forgiveness is a gift.