THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS – Homily by Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga on the 6th Sunday of Matthew.

Biblical Readings (Ro 12:6-14, Mt 9:1-8)

“Jesus got into the boat, crossed over and came to His own town. 2 Some men brought to Him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man: Courage, son! Your sins are forgiven. 3 At this, some of the teachers of the Law said to themselves: This fellow is blaspheming! 4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said: Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier, to say: Your sins are forgiven, or to say: Get up and walk? 6 But l want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. So, He said to the paralyzed man: Get up, take your mat and go home! 7 Then the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were afraid, and praised God, who had given such authority to man”.

The unusual healings, which were realized by the godly power of Christ Jesus, to a number of individuals, amazed almost everyone, even the Pharisees or teachers of the Law being included. The healing power, in itself, did not provoke noticeable disturbance in the thoughts of Pharisees. There was no blaspheming in that activity of Christ. For the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, the misunderstanding came from: Jesus to claim the power of forgiving the sins. “Who can forgive sins except God alone”? The Pharisees thought within themselves (Mk 2:7). They entertained evil thoughts in their hearts. And Christ wanted them to believe that, as Word of God incarnate in the Son of Man, he has the authority on earth to forgive sins. As theme of the NT, it is somehow difficult to grasp, unless when it is related with the whole mission of Jesus Christ.

Since then to the present time, as it happened with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, many people entertain in themselves the disturbing thoughts, when they try to understand the two natures (divine-human) of Jesus Christ, and His mission in the world. The truth is that, the Word of God (divine nature) incarnate in Christ Jesus (human nature) came to save the human race from death, from all evils and diseases! This mission includes the preaching or revealing of eternal life, the Good News (Mt 7:28-29); driving away the demons and evil spirits (Mk 1:34), as well as healing all kinds of sickness and weakness (Mt 4:23); forgiving the sins of humans (MK 2:5-12. Mt 9:1-8); and raising them from death (Jn 10:17-18; 11:23-27).

Surprisingly, Prophet Isaiah (BC 740-680?) had summarized (Is 35:1-10) this mission of Christ Jesus, the Redeemer. Therefore, in the passage of today the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled. The Pharisees and teachers of the Law (even some people today), although had read several times the prophecy of Isaiah, were (and are) not able to perceive the glory of God, revealed and demonstrated before them, in public! This attitude of humans, not to believe in the forgiveness of their sins by the Redeemer, nor to trust in the total recovery of the paralyzed persons by the godly healing power, is a spiritual blindness inherited from the physical or empirical familiarity in living.

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