“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”

The story of Jesus’ healing of a paralytic is given to us today (Mt 9:1-8).  Jesus, returning to His home base, Capernaum, is immediately greeted by people seeking healing for a disabled man.   Because of their faith, Jesus says the words above to the man on the stretcher.  When some scribes object privately, Jesus calls them out, effecting physical healing to back up His claim that He has the authority to forgive sins.  The crowds, “struck with awe,” glorify God.  We are grateful today that Jesus gave this same authority to forgive sins to His apostles and their successors.  When we are truly sorry for our sins and have a firm commitment to avoid them in the future, Jesus words above can be heard by us today.  Certainly we should ask forgiveness immediately from the Lord and from those we harm.  Also, a daily examination of conscience and Act of Contrition are indispensable for growing in holiness.  But our most powerful source for confession, penance, and reconciliation is the Sacrament of Confession.  Sacraments are the ordinary means of grace established by Christ.  When we enter the “medicine box” with the proper disposition, freely telling all of our remembered sins, we hear Jesus’ words audibly through the voice of His priest who acts in the person of Christ.  Let us never hesitate for any reason to avail ourselves of this great gift no matter how grave the offense that burdens us or how long we’ve been away.  Like the Prodigal Son, the Father wishes nothing more than our return and longs to run to meet us with open arms so that He can give us all that He has (Lk 15:11-32).

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