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Authority to Forgive

by Jan 14, 2022Friar Reflection

In today’s Gospel Mark continues to present Jesus as one with “authority.”  Jesus claims that as the Son of Man he has the “authority” to forgive sins and to heal.  The Gospel Story is a wonderful example of the community of faith.  When the paralytic’s friends lower him down Jesus observes the faith not just of the paralytic but also the faith of his friends: “When Jesus saw their faith…”.  They trust that Jesus can do something.  What a simple but profound faith.  As a community of faith, we are invited to trust in God each day.  Some days our faith and trust may be strong, other days our faith may be weak and we need to be carried along by the faith of others.  This support is what the community of faith is all about.  Faith is trust, especially in our weakness.  St. Paul, with all his theological sophistication, tells us he himself had to relearn this lesson: “I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.  Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Mark tells us in today’s Gospel that Jesus not only has the “authority” to heal but also to forgive sins.  When Jesus proclaims this forgiveness some of the Jewish scribes accuse Jesus of blasphemy.  They accuse Jesus of claiming an authority for himself that God alone has, the authority to forgive sins.  How can Jesus who is not a priest or a rabbi forgive sins or even declare that someone’s sins have been forgiven by God?  As the rest of the Gospel brings out Jesus has this authority because he is the Messiah (Christ), the Son of God (Mark 1:1).

You and I also have the authority and need to forgive.  We can forgive one another and we can forgive ourselves.  God’s healing love brings about this forgiveness and enables us to see ourselves as God sees us, created in the image and likeness of God.

 

 

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