One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus.
When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he said to the one who was paralyzed—”I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.”
Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.”
I lived many years in the high desert of New Mexico and know the meaning of the desert and parched land exulting, the steppe rejoicing in bloom! Translucent lemon yellow of prickly pear cactus and vibrant purple of cholla dazzled the eyes. Winter snows and monsoon rains brought freshness to the burning sands and thirsty ground. Isaiah foretells the splendor that will come. As I wait in joyful hope, I remember the blossoming desert amidst the places of my heart that feel barren. I am invited to ask: To whom and to what situations am I blind? deaf? When am I lame, unable to move toward necessary action? Why do I stand mute when my voice would make a difference? I am among those with a journey to make. Joy and gladness are the promise. Am I ready to take one more step along this holy way today?
—Susan Kusz, SND serves as Associate Director at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, WI.
Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see your face. Open my ears, Lord. Help me to hear your voice. Open my heart, Lord. Help me to love like you.
—from “Open My Eyes” by Jesse Manibusan
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