(Image of the Advent wreath is from ImageVine/courtesy of www.imagevine.com. All rights reserved.)
(Is 35:1-10; Lk 5:17-26)
Today Isaiah strikes a triumphant note in a passage that is a song of joyful celebration. Jerusalem has been delivered from the hands of her enemies and this is cause for joy. Cripples leap about, the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf are opened to see and hear of Israel's liberation. Even the dry desert seems to bloom, and a highway - a holy path - has been cleared for all those whom Yahweh has ransomed.
This note of liberation is continued in our Gospel. Here it is a case of ransom from sin. We are given the example of some men who have brought a paralyzed man for Jesus to cure. There is such a crush of people within that the man's friends resort to removing roof tiles to lower their friend on his pallet down to Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus says to the paralytic: “Your sins are forgiven you.” The friends had expected Jesus to heal the man’s body. Instead Jesus heals both body and soul. It is the only time in the Gospels where an adult is healed because of the faith of someone else.
By the power of God Jesus forgave the man’s sins and restored his body to health. Divine and human forgiveness go hand in hand. In the Our Father we ask that our sins be forgiven as we forgive those who have offended us. We gain mercy for ourselves when we show mercy to others. The measure of our forgiveness of others is the measure of the quality of our own love for God and others.
+ Fr. Columba Enright, T.O.R. (1930–2006)
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.