The reading for the 2nd Monday of Advent is highly dramatic. Jesus is preaching, teaching and healing in the synagogue in Capernaum. Luke tells us that the fame of Jesus has spread and "teachers of the Law" were coming from every village of Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem and were sitting around as Jesus continued his healing ministry.
There is a sudden interruption — noises came from the ceiling, followed by straw directly falling down around Jesus. Soon, a large hole was opened and four men began lowering a stretcher to the feet of Jesus.
One glance revealed there was a young man on the stretcher, and his contorted arms made his paralysis evident to all. What a stage for a miracle! But much more was to happen. Jesus will assert himself as much more than a preacher and healer. He does that with his few opening words "My friend, your sins are forgiven you."
Consternation for the assembled rabbis! "Who but God can forgive sins?" Certainly a question to be asked. And Jesus lets them know the answer. "That you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins, pick up your stretcher and go home." The unlearned went away saying "We have seen incredible things today." They surely did! They saw and heard Jesus reveal Himself as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
No matter what addiction may have paralyzed us, Jesus through his ministers can free us from our sins and restore our spiritual health. That is certainly the lesson we are to draw from this Advent reading. There has been born to us a Savior. We need not break roofs and ceilings to find him. He encounters us in every confessional.
Fr. Fred Sucher, C.P. is retired and lives in the Passionist community in Chicago. For many years he taught philosophy to Passionist seminarians.