January 17, 2020


January 17, 2020:  St. Anthony, Abbot

See 16 connections with today?
Look below

For Psalm 89
Pope Francis

Homily:  After the paralytic was lowered from the roof, Jesus first told him, “Your sins are forgiven,” then ordered him to get up, take up his mat, and go home.   Jesus heals but isn't a medicine man; he teaches but is more than a teacher; he focuses on the essential.

Physical health is a gift we must preserve, but he teaches us we must also preserve spiritual health.  In the episode of the sinful and weeping woman, he also said, “Your sins are forgiven,” but the people were scandalized.  Similarly, he told the sick man who never got to the pool on time to be healed, “Don't sin any more.”  To the Samaritan woman, he goes to what's essential:  relationship with God.   We often forget, as if afraid of encountering the Lord.  It's good we do a lot for our physical health, but do we think about our heart's health?

Jesus' words to the paralytic can help:  “Child, your sins are forgiven.”   We get so used to this medicine of forgiveness that it loses strength and power, but today Jesus tells each of us, “I want to forgive your sins.”  Forgiveness is the medicine needed to be healed from concrete sins, diseases of the soul.  Watch over your body and soul, and go to the Doctor who can heal and forgive:  Jesus, who came and gave his life for this.

To Finnish ecumenical delegation:  Christians give thanks for their baptism, and this gratitude unites all the baptized.  “As members of the mystical body of Christ, Christians are bound to one another and must bear one another’s burdens” ("Justification in the Life of the Church," Catholic-Lutheran dialogue group for Sweden and Finland).  Tomorrow begins the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, with theme “They showed us unusual kindness,” Paul's words to to the inhabitants of Malta, who received him, and hundreds of shipwrecked people, with hospitality.   Christ wishes to meet us Christians precisely in the shipwrecked.  Those who show hospitality grow richer; givers receive.  The humanity we show others makes us partakers in God's goodness.

We're journeying together in the community of the baptized.  Our gratitude for our baptism links and expands our hearts, opening us to our neighbors, our beloved brothers and sisters.  The community of the baptized doesn't merely stand beside one another but wants to stand together.

  • 1 Sm 8:4-7, 10-22a  Elders to Samuel:  “Appoint a king over us.”  Samuel, displeased, prayed and heard:  “Grant their request; they're rejecting me as their king.”  Samuel told them, “The king will take your children, fields, crops, flocks, and servants and make you slaves.”  They said, “No!  We must have a king over us.”  Samuel told the Lord, who replied, “Grant their request; appoint them a king.”
  • Ps 89:16-19  "For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord."  You're our strength; our King belongs to you.
  • Mk 2:1-12  While Jesus was preaching to the crowds, four men brought him a paralytic through the roof.  Jesus / scribes:  “Your sins are forgiven.” / “He's blaspheming; only God can forgive sins!” / “What's easier to say:  ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Rise and walk’?  But so you know the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins:  [to paralytic] “Rise, and go home.”  He did; all were astounded.
  • Creighton:  In the 1st reading, the people seem to know what they want from a king:  being in charge, fighting their battles, making them like other nations.  The exchange reads like a whiny child begging for what others have.  The request seems odd:  why ask to be judged and told what to do?  But a king would take on the leadership burden, including the hard decisions and the blame when things don't turn out well.  God reminds Samuel not to take their request personally:  “They're rejecting me, not you.”  Then through Samuel he tells his children, “OK; you can have a king, but you won't like it.  I'd treat you better, but I see your mind is made up.”  In the psalm, we proclaim the role of a king.  To the Holy One of Israel belongs our King.  A good king knows he's not God but belongs to God.  We sing the goodness of the Lord, our true king.  In today's gospel, the king heals and forgives; there's no doubt he rules; he has the authority to heal and forgive.  Here he heals and forgives not based on the paralytic’s faith, but on the friends'; the community’s faith and love moved him to heal.  My community can carry me to Christ when I can’t make it there myself....
    Christ healing the paralytic.../ Murillo
  • One Bread, One Body:  To love Jesus, we must know him. What's foremost on his mind?  When he saw the paralyzed man, he said: "Your sins are forgiven."  He's preoccupied with forgiveness; he even died to take away our sins.  When he saw the men lowering the paralytic, he saw their faith.  He's on the lookout for faith; by faith we can accept his forgiveness, and by his forgiveness we can grow in faith.  'Jesus' means "The Lord saves"; we should expect he'd be preoccupied with our salvation, such as grace, faith, forgiveness, and eternal life.  To relate to him rightly, we must have his mind and his priorities.  As we try to think and be more like him, we'll love him with heart and mind....
  • Passionist:  With people spilling out of the house, the paralytic's friends carried him up to the roof, pulled away part of it, and lowered him down.  We're all called to Jesus, but we need others' help, encouragement, support, and guidance to reach him.  The paralytic's friends went to extremes to bring him to Jesus.  We can't journey to God on our own; we need companions to help us stay close to Jesus and to draw us nearer.  As the paralytic's friends brought him to Jesus, so too did he in his need brought them to Jesus.  If we don’t do it together, we don’t do it at all.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "We never saw anything like this!"  Jesus' treatment of sinners upset the religious teachers.  When a cripple was brought to Jesus because of his friends' faith, Jesus first forgave his sins. The scribes regarded this as blasphemy because only God could forgive sins.  Jesus both proved his authority came from God and showed the power of God's love and mercy by healing the man's physical paralysis; he also freed him from his from his burden of guilt. The Lord is ready to heal us of body, mind, and spirit.  What cripples you?  "The Lord, wanting to save sinners, shows himself to be God both by his knowledge of secrets and by the wonder of his actions. 'What's easier, to say, "Your sins are forgiven" or, "Rise and walk"?'  He shows the likeness of the resurrection.  Besides healing body and mind, he also forgives sins of the spirit, removes the weakness of the flesh, and thus heals the whole person. It's great to forgive people's sins, and God alone can, but God also forgives through those to whom he has given power of forgiveness. But it's more divine to give resurrection to bodies, since the Lord is the Resurrection" (Ambrose, Exposition of the Gospel of Luke).
  • Universalis:  Anthony, originator of the monastic life, gave his belongings to the poor, led a life of penitence, poverty, prayer, and work, suffering and overcoming temptation. Disciples gathered round him, attracted by his wisdom, moderation, and holiness.  He supported victims of persecution, helped Athanasius fight Arianism, and lived to be over 100.
Dress legend
  • 'Chariot' and 'horse' tie pins:  "A king will assign your children to his chariots and horses" (1st reading)
  • 'Chalice' tie pin:  "A king will take the best of your vineyards and tithe them" (1st reading)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  "He'll use your daughters as cooks and bakers" (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  "Appoint a king over us" (1st reading); the Lord is our King (psalm)
  • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin:  Blessed those who know the joyful shout;... (psalm)
  • 'Street light' tie bar:  ...in Your light they walk (psalm)
  • 'Horn' tie pin:  By your favor our horn is exalted (psalm)
      • 'Heart' pin:  "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?" (gospel)
      • '?' and 'walker' tie pins:  Why are you thinking that?  What's easier to say:  "Your sins are forgiven," or "Rise and walk" (gospel)
      • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Jesus heals a paralytic (gospel)
      • 'Eyeball' pin:  Healed paralytic  went away in the sight of everyone; "we've never seen anything like this" (gospel)
      • White shirt:  St. Anthony memorial

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