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Courage to Move

First Reading: Amos 7:10-17

Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam,
king of Israel:
“Amos has conspired against you here within Israel;
the country cannot endure all his words.
For this is what Amos says:
Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
and Israel shall surely be exiled from its land.”

To Amos, Amaziah said:
“Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!
There earn your bread by prophesying,
but never again prophesy in Bethel;
for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Now hear the word of the LORD!”

You say: prophesy not against Israel,
preach not against the house of Isaac.
Now thus says the LORD:
Your wife shall be made a harlot in the city,
and your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword;
Your land shall be divided by measuring line,
and you yourself shall die in an unclean land;
Israel shall be exiled far from its land.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (10cd) The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.

Gospel: Matthew 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
“This man is blaspheming.”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
“Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he then said to the paralytic,
“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.

NAB

DEV_J30

“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus doesn’t mess around. He goes straight to the heart—the forgiveness of sin. Sin is the paralysis that was really ailing the man, and yet the Lord reassures him. The paralytic is forgiven, and his spiritual health and mobility is restored. “Courage,” Jesus says. I’m wondering why He uses this word. It seems as if Jesus is encouraging and preparing the man for what comes next.

Jesus doesn’t care about what other people think. He doesn’t change Himself, His actions, or any aspect of His mission merely because of other people’s feelings or what other people might think. Additionally, He calls those people out for the negative judgmental thoughts against Him and what He was doing, and He uses the situation to reveal to them who He is. He is the God-Man, capable of forgiving sins and healing the most incurable ailments.

And then it’s time for the courage part Jesus mentioned to the man at the beginning. “Rise. Pick up your stretcher and go home.” Do you think the man was afraid to get up? Do you think he was afraid to even try to move? He had been paralyzed, remember, and he probably hadn’t moved in a very long time. I think that must have taken a considerable amount of courage. He probably was thankful he had the support of his friends who had brought him there, and he, of course, had Jesus’ support too. But the paralyzed man had to take action himself. He needed to do His part. He needed to move in courage.

I’m wondering if there is something going on in your life that seems to be paralyzing you. Something that makes you feel stuck, like you can’t move. I’m wondering if Jesus is calling you to have the courage to come to the grace of Confession so that you can hear the words that your sins are forgiven. If you’ve already been to Confession, maybe you are still holding on to past sins and regrets, and Jesus is now calling you to have courage to let go of shame and know that you are loved and forgiven. Maybe you are being called to make a move, a change, a step and you are afraid of what other people might think of you. I’m wondering if there is something that has been making you feel stuck, frozen, or paralyzed. If so, Jesus says to you today, “Courage!”

Now, rise up and walk!

If you feel there is an action, step or movement that you might need to take, know that you have support. You have the support of this community present to you and interceding for you, as well as the support from Jesus Himself present in His Word and in the Eucharist. “Courage! Your sins are forgiven!”

photo credit

Mary Catherine Craige is a lover of creativity and learning new things. When she is not guiding the development of young children through Montessori methods, you can find her behind her harp, taking an art class, or writing little poems. You can find out more about her here.

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