The Healing of the Paralytic,
Anonymous Netherlandish painter,
16th century
Oil on panel
© National Gallery of Art, Washington

The Healing of the Paralytic,
Anonymous Netherlandish painter,
16th century
Oil on panel
© National Gallery of Art, Washington

Gospel of 30 June 2022

Get up, and pick up your bed, your sins are forgiven

Matthew 9:1-8

Jesus got in the boat, crossed the water and came to his own town. Then some people appeared, bringing him a paralytic stretched out on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven.’ And at this some scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ Knowing what was in their minds Jesus said, ‘Why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts? Now, which of these is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralytic – ‘get up, and pick up your bed and go off home.’ And the man got up and went home. A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this, and they praised God for giving such power to men.

reflection on the painting

Our 16th-century Netherlandish painting depicts the paralytic after he has been healed by Jesus, as in our Gospel reading today. In the distance we see him before his healing, lying on his makeshift mattress. But most of the painting is a large depiction of the man, on the road (depicted on the right) towards a new life. He is healed and humbled by the experience. He is looking down at the ground. Probably for most of his life he had been looking upwards at all the people passing him by. Now he is looking down: his life has been turned upside down.

The paralytic man represents all of us: in need of God’s forgiveness. In today’s Gospel reading Jesus asserts his authority to forgive sins. He says, ‘Get up, and pick up your bed and go off home: your sins are forgiven’.

In today’s reading, the paralysed man was brought to Jesus by friends or neighbours: he couldn't have  got there on his own. If it hadn't been for his friends, he would not have been healed. Forgiveness for his sins came to him through others. It is the same for us today. Our faith, while it is personal, is never to be private. Our faith prompts us to be brought by our friends to Jesus and for us to see the need that others have to be brought closer to Jesus. That is the community of the Church.

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Arijeta Ajeti
Arijeta Ajeti(@trinia)
5 months ago

Jesus said: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Marc 16:17-18. We should ask the to be filled with godlike faith so that we believe the words of Jesus fully and expect miracles. I have experienced many of them and expect to see many more…

However I loved the perspective of the man needing to look down maybe for the first time so he can watch his steps. A miracle does bring an absolute new circumstance in our life and opens up a new life which brings about new challenges and requires us to depend on God fully to teach us a new way.

The aftermath of miracles.
Have a blessed day!

Last edited 5 months ago by Arijeta Ajeti
Charles Marriott
Charles Marriott(@chazbo)
5 months ago

Sometimes I wonder why more miracles don’t come about today?

Patricia O'Brien
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
5 months ago

A priest once said to me it’s because we don’t expect them any more…not sure on that – maybe miracles are actually so frequent, we’ve stopped seeing them? Surely the COVID vaccine was nothing short of a miracle?

Oi Lian Kon
Oi Lian Kon(@kairos712)
5 months ago

Jesus’ miracles were and are teaching moments – not a magician’s sleight of hand. “Take heart, son, your sins are forgiven” suggests to me that healing to wholeness of the inner person is what truly matters. “May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Yvonne Porterfield
Yvonne Porterfield(@ybon)
5 months ago
Reply to  Oi Lian Kon

Totally agree.

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