Today’s Gospel in the story of the paralytic (Mark 2:1-12). It is a story we all have heard many times. Most of the time when I hear it I kind of zone out because I already know it. But today was different. I was actually able to pay attention and listen to it being read at Mass. I stood there and my immediate thought was trust. Those men who went to so much trouble, carrying their friend, taking the roof off of a building, lowering their friend into the crowd. They put a TON of effort into getting their friend to Jesus, a man they hadn’t met but had heard many stories about, I would assume. They heard stories of how He had cured others and so they journeyed with their friend and did everything they possibly could to have their friend healed. This took incredible faith and it took great trust in the power of Jesus.
They believed without a doubt that this man could cure the paralytic. And because of their trust Jesus granted them their desire plus some. Not only was the paralytic physically healed but he was also spiritually healed, by being forgiven of his sins. Initially, this stuck out to me because I just had a conversation with my spiritual director yesterday about trust. But just now as I was reflecting on the reading again I realized there’s a little lesson about the Sacrament of Reconciliation hiding in there too.
It takes an immense amount of faith and trust for us to walk into the confessional and share our deepest and darkest secrets and mistakes. When we walk into the confessional we believe that we will be healed, just as the paralytic and his friends believed with their whole hearts that he would be healed. And in the same way that Jesus forgave the paralytic of his sins, so we are forgiven our sins in confession. We receive not just forgiveness, but the Lord also pours out graces on us to give us the strength to rise and walk again. He gives us the strength to combat temptation and step out of the recurring habits of sin. Every time we go to confession the Lord says, “Child, you’re sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5) and as we step out and into the world once again He says, “Rise, pick up your mat, and walk.” (Mark 2:9)
This comes with immense responsibility. Each time we step out of the confessional we are given a mission and the power and strength to accomplish it if we have enough desire. We are called to sin no more and to spread the Gospel. This takes commitment. This means spending time in prayer, utilizing the sacraments, and it means never giving up even when we fall. We are called to trust in the mercy and love of the Lord always. And remember that whenever we fall, the Lord is ready to forgive us, if only we have the courage to seek Him, and He will encourage us, give us strength, and ask us to rise up and walk on.