I am often paralyzed by my sin. I am very good at hiding it with my busy-ness. I couldn’t possibly be paralyzed if I am working all these jobs and taking all these classes and traveling all the time and volunteering all these hours. My legs work great, I can tell myself. I don’t need any help. I can become better all by myself.
But the voice telling me I can handle everything on my own? That’s temptation. That’s my own brand of American individualism creeping in. I have these bootstraps, and I can pull myself into holiness if I just stay busy and work harder and grind through it.
On the inside, though, I am paralyzed. When I try to rely on myself instead of relying on grace, I am penned in, trapped, and hobbled by my own inability to seek healing.
Well, there’s a bright side. Today’s Gospel really offers me some Good News. My sin can be wiped away. I can walk in grace again. In today’s Gospel, “[T]hey glorified God, who had granted such authority to men.” (Matthew 9:8) Thank God. Seriously. Thank God. That’s what I’m doing right now as I think about it.
I am so grateful for the authority God granted to our priests—the authority to wash away my iniquity and cleanse my from my sin. I kneel there in the confessional, and the priest acting in the person of Christ raises his hand over me, blesses me and absolves me. I, like the paralytic, am healed. I am reconciled in relationship with God. I can relax. It’s not on me to heal myself from sin.
I need other people. I need God. I need grace. I need the Sacraments. When I become so trapped in self-reliance, I am willfully keeping myself paralyzed. When I recognize my reliance on God and others, I can walk again.
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Sin keeps us from being wholly ourselves and fully alive in the world. Let’s commit, together, to seek healing in the Sacraments.
Brigid Hogan is a midwestern graduate student who finds peace in lakes, the Mass, and fiction when she isn’t ensconced in schoolwork. Find out more about her here.