Sunday, February 19, 2012

What is new?

Praised be Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Seeing the faith of the 4 men who brought him a paralytic through the roof, Jesus said to the paralytic: “Your sins are forgiven.” The scribes, not knowing the divine nature of Jesus, thought that the Lord was blaspheming: “Who but God alone can forgive sins?” And rightly they said so. Thinking that they were criticizing Jesus, the scribes unknowingly gave witness to the Lord’s Divinity. It is true that God alone can forgive sins and so, when Jesus said that “The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth,” he was already revealing to us the Divinity that hides beneath his humanity. Giving the healing of the paralytic as proof to his claim to Divine authority, the Lord has done something new…something that made people around him say: “We have never seen anything like this!” Indeed, what the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah has come to pass: “see, I am doing something new!...It is I, I, who wipe out, for my own sake, your offenses; your sins I remember no more.”

Why is it that people said, “We have never seen anything like this”? Has God not forgiven offenses in the past? Why did he say, “I am doing something new”? Obviously, even in the past, the Lord has been manifesting His mercy. He revealed himself to Moses as the Godwho is slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression;” (Num. 14:18) Again and again, he forgave the infidelity of the people of Israel. The novelty in what Jesus did lies in the fact that the authority to forgive sins on earth is exercised by the Son of Man, that is, by God who has assumed a human nature. By the mystery of the Incarnation, God forgives sins by using the human nature he assumed as his instrument. In and through the sacred humanity of Christ, salvation is accomplished for us. In and through his sacred humanity, our sins are forgiven. In and through his sacred humanity, our wounds are healed.

Thus, in the Incarnation of God’s only begotten Son, God affirms his love for humanity. “The Son of God was not ‘yes’ and ‘no’ but ‘yes’ has been in him. For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him,” said St. Paul to the Corinthians. There could be no clearer affirmation of Divine Love for us than in the Incarnation of his only begotten Son.

Thus, as Lent approaches, let us not hesitate to seek the forgiveness of God. Let us never doubt, even for a single instant, the Lord’s desire to forgive our sins, no matter how many or how grave they may be. To St. Faustina, the Lord Jesus said: “My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of my goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed myself to be nailed to the Cross; for you I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of my mercy. Do not argue with me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.” (Diary, 1485)

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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