A Strange Thing Jesus Said to a Paralyzed Man – Another Insight from Pope Benedict’s New Book | Archdiocese of Washington

The Gospel from Monday the second week of Advent is the gospel of the paralyzed man who is lowered through the roof. It is presented to us in Advent because, among the many prophecies about the Messiah, would be that the lame would walk. But the Gospel also helps us to focus on Jesus’ central mission for us, and it is very provocatively expressed in this Gospel.

The Gospel passage contains a rather peculiar and somewhat awkward moment. Jesus looks at a paralyzed man and says to him, As for you, your sins are forgiven (Lk 5:20). What a strange thing to say to a paralyzed man.

The Pharisees and scribes of course are all worked up for other reasons, but their reason is not ours, we know that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins. Let us stay focused on the strange thing to say to a paralyzed man, your sins are forgiven you.

One of us modern folk might be tempted to tap Jesus on the shoulder and say, “Ah excuse me, Lord, this man is paralyzed, his problem is paralysis, that’s what he needs healing for.”

Of course Jesus is not blind or unintelligent, knows this. But looking at a paralyzed man he does not see the paralysis as his most serious problem. The man has a far more serious problem, his sin.

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10 thoughts on “A Strange Thing Jesus Said to a Paralyzed Man – Another Insight from Pope Benedict’s New Book | Archdiocese of Washington

  1. There is also another aspect to this story, that is the Mind/Body/Spirit connection. When I work with people with chronic degenerative diseases, the healing process is three legged stool, physiological,psychological and spiritual. To be truly healed all three needs be in balance. Remember healing comes in three varieties, cure, re-mission and healing unto a good death and we’re not in charge of which of the three happens.


    • Depends on what you mean by “truly healed”, I suppose. In my way of thinking, spiritual healing (having your sins forgiven) as Jesus did to the paralytic is true healing and the others are merely temporary gifts. There is no doubt though, that one or two or all three problems may afflict a person and each can bring on a problem with either of the other two as well.


  2. David, I need your help, to pray for my friend Tony,who has tongue cancer that basically has metastasized throughout his body. He has weeks to live and needs to return to his Faith from which he’s been gone for 51 years. If you have a prayer group in your church gear them up too. I’ve got a bunch here praying for him too. thanks.


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