Dec 10, 2018: Forgive and be Forgiven

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Monday of the Second Week of Advent
Reading 1Is 35:1-10; Gospel Lk 5:17-26

How can an arid land blossom and be decked with flowers? Is it just wishful thinking or a figment of naïve imagination? Could that ever be possible? For us humans, it’s impossible. But for God nothing is impossible. (Lk. 1: 37) Now that answers the ‘how’. But why should a desert bloom? Why not? If at all there be a place on earth that needs to blossom, it is the wilderness. For it is the thirsty that needs to be quenched, the sick who needs a cure, the desert that needs to blossom, the sinner who needs reconciliation!

But what about justice? As much as God is all and ever-loving, He is also just, right? The righteous ought to be rewarded and the wicked ought to be purged of their iniquities. That is justification. On the contrary, in the gospel we find Jesus forgiving the paralytic instead of reprimanding him for his shortcomings. In doing so, was he just?

Of course, he was. He meted out the forgiveness of the ever-loving God by willingly bearing upon himself, the brunt of the mighty hand of our God who is just. Together with our inequities, he took upon himself its consequences of suffering and death. The forgiveness of Jesus was the fruit of his self-effacing passion that appeased the justice of Almighty God. The purpose of his very incarnation was to save. Remember, Mary was told to call the fruit of her womb – Yeshua – meaning ‘God who saves’.

It was this very purpose of his incarnation that was questioned by the Pharisees and the scribes, when Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic. Jesus manifested his authority to forgive sins by instantaneously curing the paralytic who took up his mat and went home praising God. To the people it was a miracle that elicited from them praises to God. To the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, it was sacrilegious.

We too are culpable of the same crime when we, by our obstinacy, squander the salvation Jesus wrought for us. May we, during this Advent season, prepare ourselves and reciprocate God’ gratuitous love and forgiveness, by loving and forgiving our brethren.

 

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