CNS photo/Vatican Media

The diseases of the soul need to be healed and the medicine is to ask for forgiveness. Basing himself on the miracle of the healing of the paralytic by Jesus, Pope Francis made this point in his homily at Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.

January 17, 2020

Pope Francis delivered a homily based on Jesus’ miraculous healing of the paralytic in St. Mark’s Gospel.  Unable to approach Jesus in the packed house in Capernaum, the four men lowered the paralytic on a mat from the roof.

The Pope drew attention to the first words of Jesus: “Your sins are forgiven.”  Jesus later orders him to get up, take up his mat and go home.   Jesus, a man of God, the Pope said, heals but He is not a medicine man.  He teaches but is more than a teacher and in this episode, He focuses on what is essential.

The Pope said that physical health is a gift that we must preserve but the Lord teaches us that we must also preserve the health of the heart, spiritual health.

The Holy Father picked out other instances where Jesus focuses on the essential.  In the episode of the sinful and weeping woman, Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven”.  But those present are scandalized, the Pope said, because there is prophecy, there is strength.

In the same way, to the sick man who never got to the pool on time to be healed, Jesus says, “Do not sin anymore.”

Fear of encounter with the Lord

To the Samaritan woman who asks so many questions, Jesus goes to what is essential in life. The Pope said that “relationship with God is essential.”   “We often forget this as if afraid of an encounter with the Lord, with God”.  He said we do a lot for our physical health, we advise ourselves regarding doctors and medicines, which is good, the Pope said, “but do we think about the health of the heart?”

The words of Jesus to the paralytic, the Pope said, can help us in this.  Jesus tells him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”  The Pope noted that we get so used to this medicine of forgiveness of our sins, mistakes and anything that it gets watered down and loses the strength and the power of prophecy of Jesus when He focusses on the essential. And today Jesus tells each one of us: “I want to forgive your sins”.

Medicine of forgiveness

The Pope further pointed out that perhaps someone may not find sins to confess because “there is a lack of awareness of sins”.  The medicine needed to be healed from “concrete sins”, “diseases of the soul”, the Pope said, is forgiveness.

It is simple when Jesus goes to the essentials., the Pope said. The health of both body and soul is essential.  Watching over our body and the soul, he said, we go to that Doctor who can heal us, who can forgive our sins.  He is Jesus who came for this and gave His life for this, the Pope said.

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