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Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

​​ My dear encountered couples:

Today Jesus returns to his home town. When the townspeople heard that Jesus was home, they brought a paralytic to Jesus, carrying him on a stretcher. Clearly these people had faith in Jesus’ power to heal this man. Jesus then said to the paralytic: “Child, have courage! Your sins are forgiven!”

There were scribes amidst the townspeople. These scribes began murmuring among themselves about Jesus. They believed that Jesus was blaspheming. How dare Jesus think that he had the power to forgive sins. However, Jesus knew what they were thinking. Even though they had not spoken a word to him, Jesus could read their thoughts and their faces. Jesus also clearly felt their disapproval and negativity.

Jesus then confronted the scribes about their evil thoughts. He simply asked them: “Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to tell the man: ‘Rise up and walk?’ Jesus then spoke to the paralytic and said: “Rise, pick up your stretcher and return home.” The paralytic immediately stood up, picked up his stretcher and went to his home! Everyone was filled with awe! The people then began to glorify God, who had given such authority to men (Jesus).

Being God and human, Jesus must have always had an idea of what the scribes were thinking. In this case, he calls them out for what they were muttering to themselves and reminds them of his authority.

How about us? Is there a scribe with us? I assume so. Do we recognize when our inner scribe is active? Do we recognize when we are murmuring? At times, does our inner scribe judge others? Do we ever criticize Jesus for what he does or perhaps for what he does not do?

We need to be mindful of our inner scribe’s voice and our tendency to judge and criticize others. If we become aware of our thoughts and criticisms, then we have the opportunity to step back and change our minds and stop our judgment or criticism. If we do this consciously for a period of time, we may come to realize that we are not judging others as frequently as we had been. Who knows: we also may find ourselves feeling freer and more at ease.

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