The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Is there anything in your life that keeps you from receiving the blessings of God’s kingdom? The prophets foretold that when the Messiah came to usher in God’s kingdom the blind would see, the deaf hear, and the lame walk (Isaiah 35:5-6). Jesus not only brought physical healing, but healing of mind, heart, and soul as well. Jesus came to bring us the abundant life of God’s kingdom (John 10:10). But that new life and transformation can be stifled by unbelief, indifference, and sinful pride. Sin cripples us far more than any physical ailment can. Sin is the work of the kingdom of darkness and it holds us in eternal bondage. There is only one solution and that is the healing, cleansing power of Jesus’ forgiveness.
Jesus’ treatment of sinners upset the religious teachers of the day. When a cripple was brought to Jesus because of the faith of his friends, Jesus did the unthinkable. He first forgave the man his sins. The scribes regarded this as blasphemy because they understood that only God had authority to forgive sins and to unbind a man or woman from their burden of guilt. Jesus claimed an authority which only God could rightfully give. Jesus not only proved that his authority came from God, he showed the great power of God’s redeeming love and mercy by healing the cripple of his physical ailment. This man had been crippled not only physically, but spiritually as well. Jesus freed him from his burden of guilt and restored his body as well. The Lord is ever ready to bring us healing of body, mind, and soul. His grace brings us freedom from the power of sin and from bondage to harmful desires and addictions. Do you allow anything to keep you from Jesus’ healing power?
“Lord Jesus, through your merciful love and forgiveness you bring healing and restoration to body, soul, and mind. May your healing power and love touch every area of my life – my innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories. Pardon my offences and transform me in the power of your Holy Spirit that I may walk confidently in your truth and righteousness.”
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“Who is this Man Who utters blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” —Luke 5:21
Jesus always has forgiveness on His mind. The roof literally falls in, but Jesus responds: “My friend, your sins are forgiven you” (Lk 5:20). A man lies before Him paralyzed and Jesus says: “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Lk 5:24). The apostles ask Jesus to teach them to pray and Jesus replies: “Forgive us the wrong we have done as we forgive those who wrong us” (Mt 6:12). Even while hanging on the cross, among His last words Jesus kept saying: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34).
“You can depend on this as worthy of full acceptance: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tm 1:15). “I tell you, there will likewise be more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent” (Lk 15:7). Jesus is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29). He is preoccupied with the forgiveness of sin.
If we ask Jesus about our Christmas presents, He’ll offer to forgive our sins. If we complain about our troubles, He’ll call us to Confession. If we blame our spouse for something, Jesus will talk to us about the plank in our own eye (Mt 7:3). When Jesus thinks of Christmas, He thinks of the forgiveness of sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Go to Confession. Give Jesus the Christmas present of your repentance.
Prayer: Jesus, baptize me in repentance. Send the Spirit to search my heart. May I repent on the deepest level. Promise: “They will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.” —Is 35:10 Praise: St. Ambrose brought St. Augustine to God, who eventually brought countless others to the Lord.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements