When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.” At once the teachers of the law and the Pharisees began to wonder, “This man insults God! Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”
But Jesus knew their thoughts and asked them, “Why are you reacting like this? Which is easier to say: ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Get up and walk’? Now you shall know, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” And Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” At once, the man stood before them. He took up the mat he had been lying on, and went home praising God.
Amazement seized the people and they praised God. They were filled with a holy fear, and said, “What wonderful things we have seen today!”
Modern psychosomatic medicine is based on the fact that there is an intimate connection between our minds/souls and our bodies. For example, excessive stress can cause ulcers. Fear can make us tremble. Anger or any strong passion can raise our blood pressure. Well, apparently an extreme sense of guilt can affect our bodies, too, perhaps even paralyze us. Perhaps this was the case for the paralyzed man of today’s gospel reading. It seems that Jesus, who did occasionally manifest supernatural knowledge, instinctively knew that the cause of this man’s paralysis was his crushing sense of guilt over some past sins. And this would explain why he first absolves the man before healing him.
Another interesting detail of this story is the fact that the text says: “When Jesus saw their faith…” For all we know, perhaps the paralyzed man did not want to meet Jesus but that his friends brought him to Jesus against his will. That would explain Jesus’ reference to their faith.
In the Christian life, our faith can carry others through many hardships, just as the faith of others can carry us in difficult times. We are all interdependent.