Psalms 105:1-22 * 105:23-45; Zechariah 4:1-14; Ephesians 4:17-32; Matthew 9:1-8
We are in this (kind of) in-between time in our church calendar. Although we are still in the 50 days of Easter (and are until Pentecost this Sunday), we are also post-Ascension right now, with Jesus having ascended to heaven a week ago today. So Jesus is "gone", but the Holy Spirit is not yet here, gifted to us - at least in the church calendar. So we are in a kind of suspended state.... waiting with the apostles to receive the Holy Spirit on Sunday.
So I find today's Gospel reading from Matthew interesting. Jesus (once again) gets off another boat and is now in his hometown, where he is accused by scribes of blasphemy because he has healed a paralytic by saying "your sins are forgiven" as opposed to "get up and walk". What intrigues me is that at the end of today's passage the crowds were in awe because God had given such authority to human beings. Matthew is saying we have the ability to forgive sins and thereby heal people. We do. That's an awesome responsibility that I think we forget quite often.
In this in-between time, before we are reminded of the gift of the Holy Spirit (this Sunday), and after Jesus has bodily left us (a week ago), today's Gospel is a reminder that in Jesus' departure from the earth we are the ones in charge of the church, we are the one's empowered to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are going to be reminded of that again this Sunday when Jesus (in the Gospel of John) says that If any sins are forgiven they are forgiven, if they are retained, they are retained. An important part of our responsibility to love is reconciliation and a forgiveness of sins....of neighbors, friends, parishioners, family.....and of ourselves.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.