Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1. 4-8; Gospel: St. Matthew 9. 1-8
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When the people bring a paralytic to Jesus, he sees their faith, not
merely in his ability to heal but in his divine power by which he is able
to heal. They encounter God and consent to his omnipotence. And so, pleased
with their faith, he condescends to use his power to answer their wishes.
"Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." But unexpectedly, he heals
first not the paralysis, but the true cause of the malady: the state of
sin from which all disease and suffering flows.
Upon hearing this, some of the scribes accuse the Lord of blasphemy.
Blasphemy is directly opposed to the second commandment. It consists
in uttering against God-inwardly or outwardly-words of hatred, reproach
or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect toward him in
one's speech; in misusing God's name. St. James condemns those "who blaspheme
that honorable name [of Jesus] by which you are called." (James 2:7) The
prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ's Church, the
saints, and sacred things. It is also blasphemous to make use of God's
name to cover up criminal practices, to reduce peoples to servitude, to
torture persons or put them to death. The misuse of God's name to commit
a crime can provoke others to repudiate religion.
Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. It is
in itself a grave sin. (CCC 2148)
The lack of faith of the scribes, who do not encounter God in Christ,
forces them to conclude that Christ is sinfully invoking the name and power
of God for himself and so compound their sin.
Lord, may we ever encounter you fully as God and man and so receive
the many blessings in the healing and power of faith.
I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we
"meet Christ in the liturgy" -- Father Cusick
Used with the permission of Fr. Cusick from his website.