Surrounded by a large crowd in a home, some men lower a paralyzed man on a bed through the roof to Jesus, hoping for a miraculous physical healing. Seeing their faith, Jesus stuns the crowd by first focusing on the paralyzed man’s spiritual ills by forgiving his sins; this prefigures the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Pharisees and teachers of the law, unaware that Jesus is God, silently condemn Him of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death; the Old Covenant dictated that sins could only be forgiven through the sacrificial system of the Temple.

Able to read men’s hearts and minds, Jesus bluntly rebukes the Pharisees and teachers for their evil thoughts. To prove He indeed has the authority to forgive sins, Jesus publicly proclaims to be the Son of Man (the long awaited Messiah) and miraculously heals the paralytic, who rises, picks up his bed and goes home.

Shocked into holy fear by the strange and wonderful supernatural event, the crowds spontaneously glorify God and marvel that Jesus has been given authority by God to forgive sins and miraculously cure the incurable.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of Man, Jesus boldly and courageously proclaims His identity and forgives sins, knowing He will be accused of blasphemy and eventually be killed. Divine Priest, Jesus lays the foundation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Divine Physician, Jesus has the knowledge and power to know the inner thoughts of men and to miraculously heal devastating illness.  Divine King, Jesus publicly rebukes the evil and erroneous thoughts of the well-educated Pharisees and teachers of the law.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Despite trillions of dollars spent on modern medical technology, it is unusual for the paralyzed to be healed. Reread today’s Gospel, imaging that you are present when Christ miraculously heals the paralytic. Be awed.

2) Today, sin is ignored, explained away or even celebrated with pride. Realize the Christ first forgives sin and then heals the paralytic. During Advent, boldly and systematically confront your sins and be forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

3) The paralyzed man’s friends had great faith and too action; Christ responded. This Advent, take heroic action to bring your family and friends to Christ (invite them to Reconciliation and Mass, read Advent Scripture, give Catholic books as gifts, etc.) and be assured of Christ’s responsive blessings.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant