Paralytic healing

This miracle took place in Capernaum. "Even some Pharisees and teachers of the Law sat there"

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Gospel - Luke [5,17-26]

One day he was teaching. There also sat Pharisees and teachers of the Law, who had come from every village in Galilee and Judea, and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord caused him to heal. And behold, some men, carrying a man who was paralyzed to a bed, were trying to bring him in and put him in front of him. Not finding which way to let him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and, through the tiles, lowered him with the bed in front of Jesus in the middle of the room. Seeing their faith, he said, "Man, your sins are forgiven you". The scribes and the Pharisees began to argue, saying: "Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, if not God alone?". But Jesus, knowing their reasonings, replied: "Why do you think so in your heart? What is easier: to say" Your sins are forgiven", or to say "Get up and walk"? Now, so that you know that the Son of man has the power on earth to forgive sins, I say to you - he said to the paralytic -: get up, take your bed and go home". Immediately he got up before them, took the little bed on which he was lying and went to his house, glorifying God. Everyone was amazed and gave glory to God; full of fear they said: "Today we have seen prodigious things".

Exegesis - Luke [5,17-26]

The popularity of Jesus must have already been very great, if not only the people but also the doctors of the law flocked from all parts of Palestine and from the capital Jerusalem itself to listen to him. The power of God was manifested in Jesus in the fact that He healed all the sick who were presented to him.

"And behold, some men, carrying a man who was paralyzed on a bed, tried to let him in and put him before Jesus": healing has its own meaning, in fact Jesus does not present himself to us simply as one who heals the sick , but as one who is invested with the "power of the Lord", which in order to bring about healing presupposes some particular conditions that Luke wants to highlight through this testimony. And what are these messages that come from the healing of the paralytic?

The central point is the reasoning expressed by the scribes, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law in the face of what Jesus says: "Your sins are forgiven". The topic becomes a matter of discussion: that Jesus says it is the object of scandal, only God can forgive sins, therefore he blasphemes! But why did the scribes, Pharisees and teachers of the law not understand the meaning of that "forgiving sins" to the point of defining Jesus as a blasphemer? How is it that when Caiaphas decides the sentence against Jesus, he will reiterate in his regard: "You have heard his blasphemy" (Mt 26,65)? Jesus is condemned as a blasphemer and here Luke anticipates him. But Jesus simply said, "Your sins are forgiven", and this cannot be understood as blasphemy. What does this paralytic have to do with it? Why, while that paralytic went to Jesus to heal physically, did Jesus forgive his sins, scandalizing the doctors of the Law?

At that time it was thought that illnesses and physical defects were the direct consequence of the sins committed and therefore an "indelible" punishment from God. For this reason, the paralytics and many other physically disabled felt rejected and excluded by God! Certainly there were, then as today, men who "became familiar" with sin, to the point of making it their philosophy of life, to be sinners of their own will. But sin is seen here by Jesus as an evil force that assaults man, a force that wants to bend man, even physically hitting him to discourage him, depress him, remove him from still placing trust in the Lord.

But in order to heal from the oppression of one's sins, even from a physical point of view, we know that sincere repentance is needed. The paralytic in the episode described by Luke does not go to Jesus to make his confession, as we will say today; then how is it possible that Jesus forgives his sins? The paralytic, seeing the crowd that prevented him from passing, does not give up, does not give up on his goal of reaching Jesus and lets himself be lowered from the roof. In that gesture, Jesus recognizes his faith and with forgiveness gives him the strength to consolidate his own faith, and through it obtain forgiveness.

The criticism made by the Pharisees and scribes is dictated by the difficulty of accepting that in that Jesus there is the power of God, they absolutely do not want to admit that Jesus is really the Messiah.

Jesus comes to man to give him the strength to fight against sin, that sin that distances man from the security of the relationship with God. Jesus amazes because he asks a very specific question: "Why do you think so in your heart?", And not. "why do you say so?": Jesus wants to face the Pharisees and the teachers of the law directly, because they distance men from the possibility of recognizing in him the Messiah, the Son of God and, therefore, the way of salvation.

Jesus must therefore give a sign: "What is easier: to say" Your sins are forgiven", or to say "Get up and walk"? [...] and said to the paralytic: get up, take your bed and come back in your house". And that paralytic gets up and walks, and goes back to his house glorifying God. Luke, bringing this text back to the Christian community, reminds believers to their relationship with the Gospel of Jesus; it is as if he were saying: "Are you really looking for Jesus? Are you sure that Jesus is the one giving you the Spirit of God? Then you must try in every way to reach Jesus, despite all the obstacles you can find, because those who believe walk in the light of God". If we welcome this word today, it transforms us, heals us from our paralysis, enables us to wake up, to take what we lay under our arms and return with our legs on the way home. Then we will be pervaded by the same amazement as the paralytic and, having returned "healed" to the right path, we will be able to do nothing but glorify God.