In today’s Gospel Our Lord reminds us what a great grace it is for us to receive forgiveness through the mediation of others. When the scribes and Pharisees in today’s Gospel are shocked that Our Lord would presume to forgive sins, Our Lord doesn’t keep silent as if to maintain the secret that he is God; rather, he uses the healing as a sign that the Son of Man has authority “on earth” to forgive sins. When we leave the confessional we have the relief of knowing that if we’ve made a good confession we’re forgiven: it’s the first day of the rest of our spiritual life. The challenges don’t go away, but we know we can make a fresh start.
Our Lord doesn’t just want to dispense his mercy in eternity; God has opened the “roof” of history and arranged for those paralyzed by sin to receive the help they need to encounter his Son and be forgiven. During Advent we remember that Our Lord doesn’t come to condemn us, but to forgive us. We rejoice because we are forgiven and loved by God.
A special time of mercy has begun with Advent; let’s rejoice that our forgiveness it at hand, and help others draw closer to the fount of mercy as well.
Readings: Isaiah 35:1–10; Psalm 85:9–14; Luke 5:17–26. See also 13th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday.