Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus crosses back over the Sea of Galilee from Gentile territory and enters “his own town” of Capernaum.  People bring him a paralytic on a stretcher.  Jesus first forgives the man’s sins.  But then, “that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” Jesus heals the man of his paralysis.

There is one message that can be drawn from this story that none of us likely want to hear.  That spiritual health is more important than physical health.  That reconciling the man with God through the forgiveness of his sins is more significant than restoring him to good physical health.

We see physical suffering in our friends and family.  We might be dealing with such suffering ourselves.  It breaks our hearts to see it in others.  Especially if it is a child that is suffering.  We have compassion for them.  We suffer with them.  Naturally, we do all that we can to help them (or even ourselves).  We seek out the best doctors.  We pray for healing.  We ask others to pray for healing.  We leave no stone unturned.

To say that spiritual health is more important is not meant to minimize the physical suffering that people are enduring in this life.  It is not meant to say that we should not do all that we can to receive healing for those that suffer.

This life is so brief compared to eternity.  Psalm 90 says of this life:

         Seventy is the sum of our years,

         or eighty, if we are strong;

         Most of them are toil and sorrow;

         they pass quickly, and we are gone.

Now, perhaps, with current medical technology, many of us can expect more than eighty years.  But none of us will spend eternity in this life. 

What does it mean to say that spiritual health is more important?  It does mean that we cannot overlook the importance of our relationship with God.  It does mean that we should have urgency for spiritual healing, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation when needed.  It means that we place a priority on daily prayer in our life.  And on Mass, at least on Sunday Mass.  We do not schedule our leisure time and see if there is any time left for daily prayer or Mass.  It means that we schedule prayer and Sunday Mass and then determine how to fit leisure activities around it.  Of course, our state in life places requirements on us.  Our parental, job, school, and other responsibilities must still be met.

Am I making spiritual health a priority without neglecting physical health?  Do I make Confession a regular practice?  Am I scheduling daily prayer and Sunday Mass first?  Am I demonstrating to others that prayer and Mass are important?