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Liturgy

Thursday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time

Amos 8:4-6.9-12; Mt 9:1-8

Occasionally in the accounts of Jesus' healings there is a connection between personal suffering and sin. This is true for the  healing of the paralytic in Matthew's gospel today. Some background helps give the context for this connection.

The Covenant Theology of the Old Testament explicitly connects suffering and sin.  Listen to the first commandment of the decalogue: "I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments." 

In John's gospel Jesus' healing of the blind man explicitly recalls the Old Testament Covenant Theology.  Encountering the blind man on their journey Jesus' disciples ask, "Rabbi, who sinned this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" The same sentiment is echoed by the Pharisees' retort to the man, "You were born totally in sin and you are trying to teach us?"  But please note that Jesus categorically denies the connection, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him." And God's glory is revealed in Jesus' healing the blindness.

And we find an echo of this connection in Jesus' healing the paralytic in today's gospel, "Which is easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk?'"

Today's gospel story -- like all New Testament healing miracles -- asserts that encounters with Jesus in faith are always healing. Emphatically it is not asserting, as Old Testament Covenant Theology implies,  that God  causes  the suffering. The Goods News of  the New Testament message is simple:  encounters with Jesus in faith bring wholeness of body, mind and spirit.

This is a crucial message for Christians. Don't we experience our need for God's presence most acutely in  our sufferings and weaknesses? When we blame God for these sufferings we put a barrier between ourselves and God at the time we need God's presence most.  

Thank  God this is not the New Testament message! 

By Dick Hauser

Pope Francis Twitter Feed

* Our Way of Life *

"Our diverse talents and abilities, our differences in culture, nationality and age are assets for the richness of the community. Although we may be engaged in a variety of ministries, we all share the common call to apostolic discipleship in a community of the Catholic Apostolate of St. Vincent Pallotti."(OWL, 91)

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"Christ, the Apostle of the Eternal Father, and his mission are central to our personal and community life, giving meaning and direction to our thinking, our spirituality, our prayer, action and suffering." (OWL, 19)

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"As a community of disciples we are gathered around Jesus, the Apostle of the Eternal Father. Like the first disciples, we want to be with Jesus, be sent out by him and return to him to evaluate our service in the light of his presence." (OWL, 88)

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"As Pallottines, it is our special charism to foster growth in faith and love among the laity, to awaken them to awareness of their apostolic call, and to cooperate with them in furthering the apostolic mission." (OWL, 21)

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"Our relationships with one another should be marked by a love that bears all, believes all and hopes for all, a love that is neither conceited nor jealous, which hurts no one, nor is embittered or resentful. It is never discouraged but remains patient and kind. It rejoices with others and shares their suffering. It is with this kind of love that we should help and support one another." (OWL, 90)

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