One of the things that used to irritate me about my parents when I was growing up is that they always knew, often better than I did, what was not only best for me, but would really make me happy. Of course, now I love that about them, but when I was young it always made me crazy. They would tell me that I should join a certain group or try a certain activity and I never wanted to, but when I ultimately did it, I of course would enjoy it thoroughly. They were right more often than I would have admitted. My parents have been wonderful prophetic voices in my life.
Amazon had Amos as his prophetic voice. And of course, much like me, he didn’t want to hear that prophetic voice. Amos makes it clear that he is not speaking on his own, or even because he wanted to. If it were up to him, he’d go back to being a simple shepherd and dresser of sycamore trees. But he knows that the Lord was using him to speak to Amazon, and he had no intention of backing down. And, as it turned out, Amos was absolutely right about what he told Amazon. Too bad Amazon didn’t appreciate his prophetic voice as much as I did my parents.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus too comes across as a prophetic voice. He could have cured the paralytic with one touch and without much fanfare. But that wasn’t what he was there to do. He was there to preach forgiveness of sins by the way he healed the paralyzed person (by the way, we don’t know by the language used here whether the person was a man or a woman, and the person’s name is not mentioned). Jesus used that simple situation of healing to be a prophetic voice in the world, saying to everyone present that real healing only comes about through the forgiveness of sins.
That unnamed, gender-unspecified paralyzed person could be you or me today, or someone we’ll meet today. Who among us is not paralyzed by sin in some way? To whatever extent we are the ones in need of healing, may we all hear the prophetic voice of Jesus saying to us: “Your sins are forgiven. Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”