Jul 4 (Mt 9:1-8)

There is a funeral custom of a particular Austrian Royal Family.

>> This is in a church in which the Hapsburgs, the former ruling family of Austria are buried.

It is called the “Knocking Ceremony”

>> The custom takes place at the burial of every member of the Imperial Family before the entrance of the Capuchin cloister church.

When the coffin arrives at the entrance, the Grand Chamberlain knocks three times with a silver cane on the door of the Church which contains the Imperial crypt.

The guard inside asks: “Who is there?”

The Grand Chamberlain proclaims the name and titles of the deceased Hapsburg Emperor: “I am (Name) … Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia…..etc….”

>> On hearing this, the porter refuses to open the door and says:  “I do not know you.”

The Grand Chamberlain knocks on the door again and in answer to the porter’s question “Who is there?” gives, this time, just the name of the deceased Emperor: “I am (Name) … His Majesty, the Emperor and the King ”

>> The guard inside, again refuses admission: “I do not know you.”

For a third time, the Grand Chamberlain knocks on the door and the guard asks: “Who is there?”

This time, the Grand Chamberlain simply says:  “I am (Name)… a poor mortal and a sinner.”

>> To this, comes the response:  “Come in.”

The progression in the questions and answers shows a progression towards humility.

>> It is only the humble who can be admitted to the Presence of the Lord!

Where there is humility, there is forgiveness of sin and celebration of mercy

>> Where there is only pride, there is criticism of sinners and condemnation of generosity!

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful incident of a contrast of experiences:

>> The humble being received into the forgiving love of God

>> The pride being reprimanded to acknowledge the mercy of God!

The Gospel is the forgiveness and healing of the paralytic, when Jesus comes to His own city (Mt 9:1)

Seeing the paralytic being brought on the stretcher, and admiring their faith, Jesus had said:

“Courage child, your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9: 2)

However, some of the scribes got annoyed and commented:  “This man is blaspheming” (Mt 9:3)

But Jesus, who reads the hearts of all people said:

“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” (Mt 9:6)

Jesus was seeking to establish an important aspect…

>> Every sin has its evil consequences on a person

It is not that every sickness/evil/ill-happening is a result of sin…

…but the reverse is always true: That Sin always has a negative influence on a person!

The paralytic man was brought on a stretcher by the people (Mt 9:2) for a physical healing

But Jesus demonstrates to the man, his friends as well as to all around…

… that more than physical healing, one needs a spiritual cleansing

… that it is only a spiritual empowerment that can lead to integral material health

This spiritual empowerment…. This spiritual cleansing…

… needs the element of Humility!

Humility is expressed in this incident by the man who “was brought on the stretcher”

>> The paralytic lay in utter helplessness and misery

>> The paralytic was totally vulnerable and powerless

These elements constitute humility…

… acknowledging one’s helplessness and depending totally on the power of God

… accepting that one is vulnerable and weak and needs God’s strength to be empowered

The scribes who were criticizing Jesus failed to have these elements…

>> They instead swelled up in pride and false knowledge

Only where there is humility,  can there be forgiveness of sin and a celebration of mercy

>> Where there is only pride, there is criticism of sinners and condemnation of generosity!

Are we sick and paralysed today?

>> Maybe our family and community lives are paralysed by attitudes of indifference, uncaring attitude, arguments and financial difficulties

>> Maybe our personal lives are paralysed by uncertainties, lack of hope and shortage of inspiration and motivation

>> Maybe our societal lives are paralysed by rejection from others, misunderstandings and unhealthy experiences of corruption and injustice.

We need the healing touch of the Lord… We need an empowerment

>> This healing has to primarily begin from the spiritual dimension

>> This empowerment needs to start first from the spiritual perspective.

When we go to the Lord in humility, we will be touched from within

… a spiritual cleansing happens and a spiritual empowerment is kindled!

The Lord came into the world, primarily as a Saviour…

… to save us!

>> And He intends that all of us seek Him with this prime motive above all…

… spiritual graces above material blessings

… growth in holiness over prosperity of earthly riches

One of the most important means that the Lord provides this opportunity to receive His Mercy and Healing is the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

Just as Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health…

…  so too Jesus wants the Church, through the Holy Spirit, to continue his work of healing and salvation especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation

>> The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a Sacrament of Healing!

We need to examine ourselves…

>> Has examination of conscience become part of our daily Christian lifestyle?

>> Do I frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation more often and thus receive forgiveness of sins and strength for our spiritual life?

>> Do I make sufficient preparation for the Sacrament, and also seek to hold on to the promises and resolutions made at the Confessional?

Every Confession is to become a life-changing experience!

>> Confession is not a license to do more sins

>> Confession is not a permit to living in sin, thinking that “God will anyway forgive!”

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a great privilege…

… It is also a Sacred Duty and places a moral obligation to seek to grow in holiness!

Yes, let us realize…

… that it is only the humble who can be admitted to the Presence of the Lord!

May we knock at the “Door of the Lord’s presence”, acknowledging in humility, that “we are mortals and sinners”…

… seeking to be healed of all the “paralysis” in our life…

>> And thus, hear the Saviour Lord telling us:

“Take heart, my child, your sins are forgiven!

Rise, take up your stretcher and go home!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let us not lower our eyes without humiliating at the same time the heart.

>> Let not others think we want the last place…

… without truly desiring it!

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