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Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time. The reading is from Gospel of Matthew 9:1-8.

The healing of the paralytic – wall painting in the baptistry of the domus ecclesiae in Dura Europos, c. 235.

The Healing of a Paralytic – Matthew 9:1-8

He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town.

And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”

At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”

Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts?

Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”

he then said to the paralytic,

“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

He rose and went home.

When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings.

The account of the healing of a paralytic is found in Mark and Luke also.

The Healing of a Paralytic – Mark 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernauma after some days, it became known that he was at home.

Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them.

They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.

Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was
lying.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,

“Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?”

Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”

he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”

He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone.

They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.

The Healing of a Paralytic – Luke 5:17-26

One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing.

And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set [him] in his presence.

But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus.

When he saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?”

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”

he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God.

Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.

Matthew does not mention the name of the town when he says “came into his own town” in

  • He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town. (Matthew 9:1)

He assumes that we know it as Capernaum because he mentions it in Chapter 4 of his gospel.

The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry – Matthew 4:12-17

When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.

He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled:

“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea,
beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

In Mark’s gospel, most of the scribes trained in oral interpretation of the written law are adversaries of Jesus with one exception

  • One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” (Mark 12:28)
  • The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that [he] answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:32-34).

It is not clear whether “But that you may knowto forgive sins” in

  • “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” (Matthew 9:6)

is intended to be a continuation of the words of Jesus or a parenthetical comment of the evangelist to those who would hear or read this gospel. In any case, Matthew here follows the Marcan text.

  • But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”— (Mark 2:10)

When Matthew says “who had given such authority to human beings” in

  • When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings. (Matthew 9:8)

is a significant difference from

  • He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” (Mark 2:12)

Matthew’s extension of the authority to forgive sins to human beings points to the belief that such authority was being claimed by Matthew’s church.

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