JESUS IN SCRIPTURE THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND

COMMENTARY
In my last post in the series, JESUS IN SCRIPTURE, I included Jesus rebuking the sea. Some will say that Jesus never says, I am God, literally in the New Testament and it would be true. But we Christians are smarter than that and know what Jewish people knew back then. God alone in Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) was master of the wind and sea. God’s manifestation of Himself, whether it be at the Red Sea, the flood in the time of Noah or saving Jonah in the belly of a whale it was clear to the Jewish people, only God controlled the wind and sea. In rebuking the sea, Jesus reveals He is Divine as well as human.

Today’s readings and reflections deal with another aspect of Jewish belief found in Hebrew Scriptures. That belief is, only God can forgive sins. When Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven,” Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or Divine. When the Luminous mysteries of the rosary were added to the rosary by Saint John Paul II, I was always bothered by audio rosaries using Jesus curing of the paralytic as the reflection for the third mystery, Jesus proclaims the kingdom of heaven.

I have been pondering for some time “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Does it mean God is literally present in the midst of his people? Does it mean we are restored to original state of union with God in the Garden of Eden? Does it mean we are saved from sins and death?

My working belief is when Jesus proclaims the kingdom of heaven is at hand is that the long awaited Savior and Messiah has arrived in the person of Jesus. He is in control of our destiny which is union with God in heaven forever and ever. Jesus is our gateway. He has the key and will unlock the gate on Easter Sunday.

JESUS IN SCRIPTURE

MARK 2:1-12 JESUS HEALS THE PARALYTIC
“When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.

Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, Why does this man speak that way?* He is blaspheming.

Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”— he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”

He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

REFLECTION:
When Jesus returned to his home in Capernaum a great crowd assembled outside…Jesus’ renown words and deeds attracted so many no more could fit inside…what was it that attracted them to Jesus…what attracts me to Jesus…If CNN announced that Jesus will be at my parish church at 8:30 on Sunday would I come…Jesus is truly present at every church at every Mass in the Real Presence of the Eucharist and all are invited…do I come follow him as the disciples did…

The paralytic would never have reached Jesus without the help of friends…do I support others by my faith and witness…do I assist others in need of healing by my prayers and actions…so many needs…one messiah and healer…when Jesus saw their faith He said, “Child your sins are forgiven.”…whose faith did he see…Jesus might assume the paralytic was seeking healing but we know for sure he saw the faith and effort of his friends to bring him to Jesus…

According to Hebrew Scriptures only God can forgive sins so Jesus was accused of blasphemy by the Scribes…Jesus healed this paralytic despite what others would say…do I bear witness to the faith even in the face of persecution…Jesus answered the Scribes, But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”— he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone…in Jesus’ own words referring to himself as Son of Man of the prophet Daniel, “I saw the Son of Man come and take his place on the throne” (Daniel 7:13) …He,Jesus, had the power to forgive sins a power reserved only to God..Jesus left the crowd astounded and in awe of His authority from the Father…are we still in awe by the Gospel story…Why not???

SILENT PRAYER


LUKE 8:43-48 DAUGHTER, YOUR FAITH HAS SAVED YOU; GO IN PEACE

A woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years, who had spent her whole livelihood on doctors and was unable to be cured by anyone, came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak.

Immediately her bleeding stopped. Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” Peter said, “Master, the crowds are pushing and pressing in upon you.” But Jesus said, “Someone has touched me; for I know that power has gone out from me.”

The woman came forward, trembling. Falling down before him, she explained in the presence of all the people why she had touched him and how He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

REFLECTION:
A woman with a blood disorder approaches Jesus…was the healing of disease the only reason?..I think no,t as long as she had this disorder she was considered ‘unclean” isolated from her community and denied access to worship God in the temple…she was certainly suffering physically and spiritually…she is in need of healing…

The promised Messiah would be a Healer, “Behold, your God will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.” (Isaiah 35:4-6)

Who touched me?, ..Jesus asks…there was a great crowd pushing and shoving to reach Jesus..but something special occurred…someone in faith specifically touched Him in need… Someone has touched me; for I know that power has gone out from me…when the woman confessed in faith it was she, Jesus said, “Daughter your faith has saved you, go in peace…similar words of absolution from the priest in sacrament of reconciliation….how I desire to hear those words of healing…

Do I reach out to Jesus in need…often???. Jesus is a healer…he can’t help himself…Jesus calls out to me…Child, when you give me your wounds you give me the joy of being your Savior…Come without delay…there is nothing I cannot forgive and heal…Come forth…touch me…and see…

SILENT PRAYER
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3 thoughts on “JESUS IN SCRIPTURE THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND

  1. Thank you for your reflections. These healings of ordinary people who without the help of their loved ones seemed lost without hope. These are stories of a lover Jesus and of beloved who are us. Thank you for the pictures too.

  2. Hey, Tom. Thanks for the article, but I would disagree with the statement in the first paragraph. Jesus does in fact explicitly claim to be God in various parts of Scripture: John 10:30, John 12:45, John 8:18, John 5:37 are just a few of the many.

    Hey Mike, I knew that I was trying to be very literal. I should have used quotes when I wrote that Jesus never said “I am God.”
    Thanks for comment

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