Psalms 41:2-5, 13-14
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
Mark 2:1-12 (see also “Who is the Son of Man?”)
God’s Great ‘Amen’
The gospel relates two contrary responses to Jesus' ministry. One group illustrates how far the hearts of some have strayed from God, because their theological stumbling blocks keep them from recognizing who Jesus is and from allowing him to extend his healing forgiveness to others.
The other group is so open to Jesus that they crowd around him, are utterly astounded by his words and deeds, and are led to glorify God because of them. Truth be told, both contrary responses are present today, in the world and in our own hearts.
We hear in today's First Reading that, "They had wearied of God, refused to call on His name." Despite that, God promised to remember their sins no more.
Sin is often equated with sickness in Scripture (see Psalm 103:39). And today’s Psalm reads like a foretelling of the Gospel scene - the man is helped on his sickbed, healed of his sins, and made able to stand before the Lord forever.
The scribes know that God alone can forgive sins. That’s why they accuse Jesus of blasphemy. He appears to be claiming equality with God. But today's Gospel turns on this recognition. The scene marks the first time in the gospels that Jesus commends the faith of a person or persons who come to Him (see Matthew 9:2; Luke 5:20).
With the eyes of faith, the paralytic and his friends can see what the scribes cannot - Jesus’ divine identity. He reveals himself as the “Son of Man” - alluding to the mysterious heavenly figure the prophet Daniel saw receive kingship over all the earth (see Daniel 7:13-14).
His retort to the scribes even echoes what God said to Pharaoh when He sent plagues upon Egypt: “That you may know that I am the Lord” (see Exodus 8:18; 9:14).
As Paul says in today’s Epistle, Jesus is God’s great Amen. Amen means “so be it.” In Jesus, God has said, “So be it,” fulfilling all His promises throughout salvation history.
We are the new people He formed to announce His praise. He calls each of us what Jesus calls the paralytic - His child (see 2 Corinthians 6:18).
But do we share this man’s faith? To what lengths are we willing to go to encounter Jesus? How much are we willing to sacrifice so that our friends, too, might hear His saving word?
Who is the Son of Man?Jesus calls himself the “Son of Man” in the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (see Mark 2:10). What does that mean?
The term appears more than 100 times in Scripture, often as another way of saying “man” or “human” (see Numbers 23:19; Psalm 8:4).
But Jesus is referring to the prophet Daniel’s mysterious vision of “one like a son of man.” In Daniel’s vision, the son of man travels on the clouds of heaven and is presented before God. He receives from God “an everlasting dominion” and “nations and peoples of every language serve him” (see Daniel 7:13-14).
The Son of Man is the king of heaven and earth, as Jesus makes clear. The son has authority to forgive sins (see Mark 2:10), is Lord of the sabbath (see Mark 2:28), and will judge people according to their deeds (see John 5:27; Matthew 25:31).
As the Son of Man, Jesus is enthroned in heaven, seated at the right of the Father - as He promised He would be (see Mark 14:62; Acts 7:56).
|Connecting the Gospel|
to the first reading: Despite the Israelite's infidelity and their having become awearisome burden for God, God nevertheless comes to deliver them and forgive their sins. The divine compassion and mercy described by Isaiah are revealed in Jesus, the incarnate healing and forgiveness of God.
to experience: We can be "hidebound": so trapped in our own way of thinking or self-righteousness that we are unable to entertain any new way of seeing things or to receive anyone who holds contrary positions. In order for God to break whatever binds our minds and hearts, we must be open to God. This is very timely for me . . . . I must do what my priest mentioned to me in confession . . . . take time to prayerfully listen for God.
Scott Hahn, Ph.D.