Read: Matthew 9:1-8
The greatest human tragedy is sin, because “the wages of sin is death.” Sin is what robs us of life and of love. Sometimes we do not know what sin really is and we identify it with our human weaknesses and failings. But the true core of sin is pride, which fills us with self-righteousness (we don’t need God) and hatred for others (God’s creatures). Therefore, the paralytic man comes before Jesus and Jesus tells him, “Courage !! Your sins are forgiven.”
The paralytic man was seeking a physical cure, but was unaware that a greater healing was needed, and that both physical and spiritual healing comes not from our own strength, but from God. Yet there is even a greater mystery here: the mystery of the Incarnation. By taking on human nature, the Word of God has brought the divine authority of forgiveness into the human race. Hear what the people exclaim, “the crowds were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings.” We continue to receive healing and forgiveness through the body of Christ, which is his Church (Ephesians 1:22-23). We must allow this forgiveness to change our lives and to walk in the path of faith, hope and love.
This same story is also told in the gospel of Mark (2:1-12), which is read on the Second Sunday of the Great Fast, a season of forgiveness, and which supplies additional details about the cure.
Meditation by Archpriest David Petras