The WORD in other words (2022) by Frater Kevin James Pizarras SVD – Purtogal
Thursday 13th Week in Ordinary Time
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
On the eve of March 19, 2020, when the series of the infamous lockdowns emerged, a fellow SVD confrere heeded the request of some friends and parishioners to start a daily rosary apostolate through social media. Equipped with a smartphone, an image of Our Lady of Fátima, and his rosary beads, he faithfully led the nightly affair that, in a few months, was able to reach hundreds and thousands of Marian devotees. Soon, there were miraculous testimonies of healing from illnesses, being saved from anxieties, depression, stress, suicidal tendencies, and reconciling divided families and broken friendships.
In today’s Gospel narrative, our Lord confirms his identity as the Messiah by healing and forgiving a paralytic man. The blasphemous act of pardoning sins, a gesture reserved to God alone according to Jewish belief, has provoked the scribes to accuse Jesus of such grave atrocity and later to plot against him.
Nevertheless, the Lord has handed the authority of forgiving sins to the Church in the sacrament of penance where the priest acts in the person of Christ and thus channels the grace and mercy of God through the absolution of the sins committed by the penitent. Indeed, the power of God’s forgiveness is a manifestation of his great love for each one of us.
The role of faith in stories of healing and forgiveness is fundamental. On the one hand, doubters need proof first before they are finally convinced to believe in something or someone. On the other hand, believers rely strongly on their faith and trust deeply in their hearts. Thus, we acknowledge the people who brought the paralytic, the Marian devotees of the daily rosary apostolate, and the rest of the ardent believers of the saving and healing grace of God as great examples of those who believe in the power of faith. As a mainstream pop song beautifully puts it, “There can be miracles,” that is, and only “when you believe!”