Our site uses cookies to improve the user experience and we recommend accepting its use to take full advantage of the navigation

A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

View other days:

Liturgical day: Thursday 13th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Gen 22:1-19): God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, «Abraham!». «Here I am», he replied. Then God said: «Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a burnt offering on a height that I will point out to you». Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him his son Isaac, and two of his servants as well, and with the wood that he had cut for the burnt offering, set out for the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar. Then he said to his servants: «Both of you stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go on over yonder. We will worship and then come back to you».

Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac's shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham: «Father!», he said. «Yes, son», he replied. Isaac continued, «Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?». «Son», Abraham answered, «God himself will provide the sheep for the burnt offering». Then the two continued going forward. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up his son Isaac, and put him on top of the wood on the altar. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.

But the Lord's messenger called to him from heaven, «Abraham, Abraham!». «Here I am», he answered. «Do not lay your hand on the boy», said the messenger. «Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son». As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh; hence people now say, «On the mountain the Lord will see». Again the Lord's messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: «I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing Ball this because you obeyed my command». Abraham then returned to his servants, and they set out together for Beer-sheba, where Abraham made his home.
Responsorial Psalm: 114
R/. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
Not to us, o Lord, not to us but to your name give glory because of your kindness, because of your truth. Why should the pagans say, «Where is their God?».

Our God is in heaven; whatever he wills, he does. Their idols are silver and gold, the handiwork of men.

They have mouths but speak not; they have eyes but see not; they have ears but hear not; they have noses but smell not.

Their makers shall be like them, everyone who trusts in them. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord; he is their help and their shield.
Verscicle before the Gospel (2Cor 5:19): Alleluia. God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 9,1-8): Jesus got back into the boat, crossed the lake again, and came to his hometown. Here they brought a paralyzed man to him, lying on a bed. Jesus saw their faith and said to the paralytic, «Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven». Then some teachers of the Law said to themselves, «This man insults God». Jesus was aware of what they were thinking, and said, «Why have you such evil thoughts? Which is easier to say: ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? You must know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins». He then said to the paralyzed man, «Stand up! Take your stretcher and go home». The man got up, and went home. When the crowds saw this, they were filled with awe and praised God for giving such power to human beings.

«Stand up! Take your stretcher and go home»

Fr. Francesc NICOLAU i Pous
(Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we find one of the many evangelic manifestations evidencing the merciful goodness of the Lord. They all show many aspects, rich in details. Jesus' compassion, mercifully exerted, goes from resurrecting the dead or healing a leper to forgive a public woman sinner and going through the healing of many ailments and acceptance of repented sinners. The latter can also be found in parables, as the lost sheep, the lost drachma or the prodigal son.

Today's Gospel is another instance of the Saviour's mercy, in two different aspects at the same time: the illness of the body and the sickness of the soul. And, the soul being more important Jesus starts with it. He knows the sick man has repented of his faults, He sees his faith and that of those bringing him, and says: «Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven» (Mt 9:2).

Why does He start like this without his having been asked to do so? He is, of course, aware of what the paralytic is thinking and He knows this is what he will appreciate the most, for when facing the sanctity of Jesus, the paralytic might feel confused and ashamed of his own faults and scared that they may hamper his healing. So the Lord wants to calm him first. Jesus does not care whether some teachers of the law murmur in their hearts. Not only, but a part of his message is to prove He has come to show his mercy towards sinners, and He now proclaims it.

And so, it happens that, while those blinded by their pride, think of themselves as if they were the only just ones and cannot accept Jesus' claim, those that sincerely consider themselves as sinners, do take Him in. It is towards those God condescends to forgive them. As St. Augustine says: «Great misery is a proud man, but a humble God's mercy is even greater». And, in this case, the divine mercy goes even further: as an additional complement of his forgiveness He heals the paralytic too: «Stand up! Take your stretcher and go home» (Mt 9:6). Jesus wants the sinner's joy to be complete.

We must reaffirm our confidence in him. But, we should remember we are also sinners, so let us not close ourselves to his Grace.