There are many “themes” running through the Gospel today—faith, perseverance, healing—which seem dramatic to us. But the theme highlighted by our first reading is that of the power of Jesus to forgive sins—something that would perhaps have been more remarkable in his own time. Saint Mark is clearly revealing to us something important about Jesus of Nazareth—something which shocks and surprises the scribes listening to Jesus. Such an immediate forgiveness of sins was, to them, new and disturbing. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves if we take forgiveness for granted sometimes: when the paralytic, after all the struggles and efforts of his family and friends, heard Jesus say, “Your sins are forgiven”, was he disappointed or delighted?
This is poetry (the way it is arranged in the Lectionary tells you that) - remember this when you read. Here God is in a reflective mood—musing on the relationship with the people of
You will have to be very careful with the “yes and no” bits of this reading: it is very easy to lose the thread! We jump into this new letter a bit abruptly: Paul is trying to make it clear that he has no “hidden agendas” in his preaching and writing—he means what he says, and is not being crafty or duplicitous. This is what he means by “Yes and No” - saying one thing and meaning another. Paul takes his lead from Jesus— the Word of God, who always said what was true. Here Paul does two things: he reminds the Corinthians that his message comes from Christ, and also that he does so as an anointed minister—he has authority. Perhaps this is the protest of a wronged man. There may be a tone of passionate insistence: try to highlight the words and phrases that give weight to Paul’s teaching authority—and remember that (through you, the reader) he is teaching the congregation today as he taught the people of
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