Now, some teachers of the law, who were sitting there, wondered within themselves, “How can he speak like this, insulting God? Who can forgive sins except God?“
At once, Jesus knew in his spirit what they were thinking, and asked, “Why do you wonder? Is it easier to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your mat and walk?’ But now you shall know, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.“
And he said to the paralytic, “Stand up, take up your mat and go home.“ The man rose and, in the sight of all those people, he took up his mat and went out. All of them were astonished and praised God, saying, “Never have we seen anything like this!“
“How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven(Ps 32:1a)“
Mark continues to present the powerful conquest of Jesus over the “kingdom of Satan“ in the next episode: the cure of the paralytic. Sin is very much like a paralysis. One who has been so immersed in sin is paralyzed! Such a person needs the Divine Healer, Jesus. Such is what happens in the Gospel episode today!
Yesterday, Jesus cured immediately the leper! This time Jesus does not address the physical illness but instead goes to the root of all evil, sin! Jesus forgives the paralyzed man! And the Pharisees are shocked! How can a “mere“ man forgive sins?
Then to prove that he truly could forgive sins, Jesus orders the paralytic to rise! While physical health is important, Jesus today makes us realize that what is more important is spiritual health! For the one whose sins are forgiven enters into the biblical REST of our first reading. It is to be “blessed.“ How fortunate and indeed “blessed“ is the one who would go seeking forgiveness saying “Bless me father for I have sinned.“