Sometimes I think our spiritual imaginations are stunted. That certainly seems to have been the case for the scribes and Pharisees who were among those crowded into the place where Jesus was teaching in today’s Gospel. Seeing the man lowered down from the roof in front of him, Jesus at once gets to the heart of the matter and forgives him his sins. Sure, he was paralyzed, but that was the least of his problems as Jesus looked at him. Jesus saw the real issue and moved at once to heal him from the inside out.
But the scribes and Pharisees were indignant. Maybe in some way they did not want to see themselves as just as bad off as the poor paralytic was. If his real problem was his sins, well, they could have been seen to be in the same way as he was. And that, for them, was unacceptable. In addition, they were angry that he presumed to forgive sins because only God could do such a thing. Their spiritual imaginations were stunted, and in a way, that made them even worse off than the paralytic.
We have to stop trying to decide how God should act in our world and in our lives. If we follow the example of the scribes and Pharisees, we stand a good chance of missing the real gift that we are offered this Advent: the gift of God’s healing in our lives. God promises to forgive us whatever stands in the way between him and us. We have but to let him do that.
Tomorrow is our Advent Penance Service. I encourage all of you to be there for that. When we turn to the Lord for forgiveness, we can receive much more than we can ever imagine. That’s the joy of Advent. Then, as Isaiah says to us today, “will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.”
Come, Lord Jesus, and give us your promise of forgiveness.