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WSC REFLECTION GUIDE

Readings: Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24-25 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 41:2-5, 13-14 February 22, 2009
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
Mark 2:1-12

Word: The authority and word of Jesus Christ heal and renew our life.
Theme: Jesus Christ heals and renews our life when we lead others to
repentance [Repentance]
Promise: “Your sins I remember no more.” (Is 43:25b)

Reflection:
Happy this man who is assured of pardon by Jesus! Like the paralytic in today’s gospel,
we need to meet God face to face – his eyes meeting ours - for us to fully comprehend
the implications of forgiveness. Because of this, God, in Christ, had to become human,
a Son of Man (Is 5:27) that from him and through him, we may receive pardon, both of
God and of people within the Church.

In the course of any day we use thousands of words, without giving much thought to the
gift of speech. In the gospel, we see the power of the word of God at work in a
memorable scene when four men, finding their way obstructed, lower a paralytic friend
through an opening on the roof, to the feet of Jesus. It is logical to assume that this
man may have been a burden to his family and neighbors, and Jesus sensed the deep
distress behind the faith of those who carried him on a stretcher. When Jesus uttered
the healing words “Your sins are forgiven”, God’s power flowed through the paralytic,
freeing him from spiritual bondage as well as his bodily affliction. There is a moment of
supreme suspense as the man rises to his feet to pick up his mat and walk out of the
door. His healing is a clear sign that his sin has been truly pardoned.

It is not that physical cure that can be obtained by the faith of others, but more
importantly, by the repentance of a sinful person and the forgiveness of his sins, sin
being the worst of all oppressions and the most pervasive of all bondages to which man
can be enslaved. The words of Jesus really heal and renew every life. To the scribes,
Jesus was uttering blasphemy, because only God has the authority to forgive sins;
people can forgive the wrongs done them, but God alone can forgive sin.

It has become fashionable to ignore the reality of sin as an offense against God, but our
sins are ever before us, placing a barrier between Christ and ourselves. Like the
paralytic, we are in need of Jesus’ healing word to free us from the burdens of the past
and enable us to move forward and live a new life, His words heal the sickness of our
souls and restore fullness of life to our personalities, crippled and blighted as a result of
the past wrong doings. We should not be surprised to find forgiveness of sin at the
heart of Christ, for his mission is to bring the peace of God to earth, and to wipe out the
tyranny of evil. Sin is a form of paralysis that affects us all.
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As a human being, Jesus understands our weaknesses and his aim is to set us free,
that we may walk in friendship with God. Despite of our ingratitude, God persists in
loving us and wants us to stop looking back and clinging to the memory of our past sins.

This passage is an example of how we are to help others. It challenges us through our
friendships, families, and colleagues at work, to cooperate in apostolic initiatives to help
foster good in society and to work for the common good, offering positive solutions
when faced with evil. The four men who lifted the paralytic through the roof not only did
so with their arms but with their faith.

As disciples of Christ, we can draw others to repentance by forgiving our own faults and
failures. We know that mistakes and faults are unavoidable, and we must practice
mercy and forgiveness. The alternative is a constant sense of guilt and shame, and
even hate. Negative emotions are never productive or helpful. Guilt and shame over
past errors and sins can only drain our energy and smother our hope. Am I standing in
the way of mercy of God? Have I been punishing myself and others by being
unforgiving? I am afraid that God sees me as I really am. How can I forgive myself
unless I know he has forgiven me first? We must take the means God has given us for
ridding ourselves of sin — the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which reconciles us with
God, the Church, the Community, with one another and with ourselves.

Jesus makes it clear God is always ready to show his infinite compassion. The question
is, are we able and ready to forgive ourselves? And just as importantly, are we ready to
forgive others? The words and authority of God works only when we can honestly say
that “I know am forgiven, and I am finally free”. Forgiveness of sin is a generous act
that is proper to God alone, we should ask ourselves if we have ever been like one of
the four friends of the paralyzed man in bringing him to Jesus.

As we approach the Lenten season, let us prepare ourselves and allow the authority of
God to work through us by bringing others to Jesus Christ who heals and renews lives.
Be a carrier of God’s love, healing and mercy. “Repent and believe in the Gospel. “

Prayer:
Father God, you are aware of our need for healing. We now approach you and ask of
your love, as we set our hearts to forgive others realizing that this is the shared duty of
all who follow Christ. We thank you for the forgiveness shown to us by your son, Jesus.
May we in turn show forgiveness to all those who have offended us. May our homes be
a place of mutual understanding and reconciliation, a shelter where injuries are healed
and forgiven, where love overcomes barriers of diversity and individuality. May we be
less concerned about our rights and our pride, but rather be ready to give Christ’s love a
fair chance to grow among us and to recreate us anew. We make our prayer in Christ
our Lord. Amen.
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Suggested Personal Reflection Guide:

1. Do you sometimes consider yourself in the shoes of the paralytic - helpless,
hopeless, anxious and spiteful when our problems are overwhelming, or do you
see yourself as his friends - loyal, patient, undaunted by obstacles, and ready
to do good to others?

2. Do we acknowledge that sin and evil can cause pain and suffering in yourself,
your family, and community? How can you help to alleviate such situations?

Next Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:

February 23, 2009 (Mon): Sir 1:1-10; Ps 93:1-2, 5; Mk 9:14-29
February 24, 2009 (Tue): Sir 2:1-13; Ps 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40; Mk 9:30-37
February 25, 2009 (Wed): Jl 2:12-18; Ps 51:3-6, 12-14, 17; 2 Cor 5:20-6:2; 3
Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
February 26, 2009 (Thurs): Dt 30:15-20; Ps 1:1-4, 6; Mk 9:22-25
February 27, 2009 (Fri): Is 58:1-9; Ps 51:3-6, 18-19; Mt 9:14-15
February 28, 2009 (Sat): Is 58:9-14; Ps 86:1-6; Lk 5:27-32

This Week’s Readings for Year of St. Paul:
Book of Galatians Chapters 5 – 6

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”