Saturday, 28 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded of the need for us to have faith, a genuine and strong faith in the Lord, to trust in Him wholeheartedly and not to be easily swayed by fear and indecision in our trust in the Lord. Just as the examples from the Scripture passages today should have highlighted to us, all of us should remember the past examples of how God has provided for His people and how many among them have received liberation and rescue from their trials and troubles. And even when the people of God apparently did not receive any help from the Lord, that is actually more because the Lord operates in His own time and in His will. But no matter what, the Lord will always love us and show His care for us.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews, the author of that Epistle spoke of the past examples of how people in the past have had faith in God even through their darkest moments, and even when they did falter, the Lord had always helped them out of their predicament. The Lord never abandoned them or left them all alone. Even when they were suffering, the reality is that God has always been with them all the way, and sent to them His deliverance, help and assistance through various means, either directly or indirectly. The Lord has always reached our to His faithful ones, granting them His help and strength, as He had done to Abraham and Sarah in the past, Isaac, Jacob and all the other members of His beloved people and flock.

When Abraham and Sarah were already desperate for a child after having many years of failed attempts to have one, the Lord reassured them and reminded all of them that His promises and Covenant will always hold true no matter what. God made a solemn Covenant between Himself and Abraham. He promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations and peoples, and that his descendants will be more numerous than the stars in the heavens. All these indeed came true, as Abraham trusted in the Lord and followed Him wherever He had led him to. The Lord guided Abraham and protected him, and gave him a son, Isaac, whom He had promised to him from the beginning. Even when the Lord tested Abraham for his faith by asking him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, while Abraham might have had moments of pain and doubt, he remained faithful nonetheless.

While Sarah also doubted the Lord and even laughed at the suggestion that she would have a child within the year from the Lord Himself Who came to visit Abraham, eventually she remained firm in her faith and trust in the Lord, believing that the Lord will always be faithful and will never abandon His faithful ones. The Lord gave Abraham who was willing to give even his own beloved son as a sign of his faith and trust in the Lord, the assurance of His blessings and faithfulness in the Covenant that He has established with him, sparing Isaac and reminded him and all of us yet again of just how loving, gracious and committed the Lord is to love all of us. Throughout history, this has been repeated and renewed again and again, as the Lord continued to reveal His faithfulness and love to us. The author of this Epistle was also trying to reveal more about the Lord Jesus, the Son of God and Saviour of all, to the Jewish people as this author had intended.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the the disciples of the Lord Jesus travelling through the lake, during which time a great storm and huge waves came to batter the boat that they were in. In that occasion, the Lord was sleeping while the disciples were panicking and worried that those waves would crush and destroy their boat, which would have likely caused them to drown to their deaths in the middle of the stormy seas. They desperately begged the Lord for help and asked Him to help them, and the Lord rebuked them for their lack of faith and trust in Him. The Lord Jesus then showed His power and authority by commanding the wind and the waves to be still, and immediately the entire storm vanished miraculously to the total astonishment of all the disciples who witnessed it.

Through what we have heard in that Gospel passage we can see how the boat represented the Church of God, while the disciples all represented all the faithful people of God, all of us who are part of God’s Church. The Lord Himself is at the Head of the Church, guiding the boat to its safe destination, just as He has always led us through the many difficulties and challenges facing us in our journey throughout life. Those storms and waves represented the many challenges, trials and obstacles that we will have to face as members and parts of God’s Church, which may indeed tempt us to abandon everything and the Church, seeking for other sources of help rather than to trust in the Lord. That is exactly what happened if someone in that boat were to try to abandon the boat and jump into the water instead of trusting in the Lord.

This is a reminder for each one of us that no matter how tough or difficult our battles and challenges may be, we must not be easily swayed, dissuaded or forced to abandon our path walking with faith in God. We must entrust ourselves in God’s love and guidance, which He has always faithfully given to us all these while, from the examples that we have heard from our Scripture passages today. The Lord has done so much for us that He has not held back from even giving us His only beloved Son, much as Abraham had done earlier in offering Isaac to God. But unlike that offering of Isaac which was just a test by God for Abraham’s faith, God truly sent us His only Son, to suffer and die for us, as the Lamb of God, as the Paschal Lamb of sacrifice offered for the salvation of all mankind, of all creation.

Can we still not trust in God after He has done so much for our sake, brothers and sisters in Christ? The Lord has done so much for us to the point of giving His best and the most perfect gift that He can give us, to have His own Son to carry the huge burdens of our many sins, so that by His coming into this world, He may save us all from our certain impending destruction, death and damnation. His love for us is so great that this Love even overcame the entire combined might of all the sins and the forces of evil arrayed against us. The Lord has shown us His most generous and powerful Love through His Cross, and we are hence reminded again and again to put our trust and faith in Him, and doubt Him no longer. We should not doubt what He has done for our sake, and we should continue to have full faith in Him, at all times.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all also follow the good examples of one saint whose life and works can inspire us to deepen our faith and trust in God ever further. I am quite sure that many of us have heard the name St. Thomas Aquinas, a great and holy Priest and servant of God, and also an esteemed Doctor of the Church after his passing from this world. The Universal Church celebrates his feast on this day. He was known for his great devotion to God and great theological masterpieces, particularly his magnum opus, the ‘Summa Theologiae’. As a great theologian and servant of God, St. Thomas Aquinas spent a lot of time and effort to help the people of God to know better about Him and the truth about His love and compassionate mercy towards us. St. Thomas Aquinas did a lot of great works together with his other contemporaries like St. Dominic and St. Francis of Assisi, who in their own ways help to bring God’s people to be ever closer to Him.

Let us all hence strive to do our best to get to know more about the Lord God, our Saviour and loving Father. Let us all return to Him once again with love and devotion, by following the zeal and the examples showed by the holy lives of the saints, particularly that of St. Thomas Aquinas in today’s Feast celebration, and let us be good role models and examples so that in all the things we say and do, we will always glorify the Lord and commit ourselves wholeheartedly, to walk in the path of His grace. May the Lord continue to help and guide us through the many trials and tribulations, the challenges that we may have to face and overcome, in each and every moments of our Christian living. May God bless us in our every good efforts and endeavours, all for His greater glory, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 28 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 4 : 35-41

At that time, on that same day, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”

So they left the crowd, and took Him away in the boat He had been sitting in, and other boats set out with Him. Then a storm gathered and it began to blow a gale. The waves spilled over into the boat, so that it was soon filled with water. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

They woke Him up, and said, “Master, do You not care if we drown?” And rising up, Jesus rebuked the wind, and ordered the sea, “Quiet now! Be still!” The wind dropped, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to them, “Why are you so frightened? Do you still have no faith?”

But they were terrified, and they said to one another, “Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Saturday, 28 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 69–70, 71-72, 73-75

In the house of David His servant, He has raised up for us a victorious Saviour; as He promised through His prophets of old.

Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of our foes. He has shown mercy to our fathers; and remembered His holy covenant.

The oath He swore to Abraham, our father, to deliver us from the enemy, that we might serve Him fearlessly, as a holy and righteous people, all the days of our lives.

Saturday, 28 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 11 : 1-2, 8-19

Faith is the assurance of what we hope for, being certain of what we cannot see. Because of their faith our ancestors were approved. It was by faith that Abraham, called by God, set out for a country that would be given to him as an inheritance; for he parted without knowing where he was going.

By faith he lived as a stranger in that promised land. There he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, beneficiaries of the same promise. Indeed, he looked forward to that city of solid foundation of which God is the Architect and Builder.

By faith Sarah herself received power to become a mother, in spite of her advanced age; since she believed that He Who had made the promise would be faithful. Therefore, from an almost impotent man were born descendants as numerous as the stars of heavens, as many as the grains of sand on the seashore.

Death found all these people strong in their faith. They had not received what was promised, but they had looked ahead and had rejoiced in it from afar, saying that they were foreigners and travellers on earth. Those who speak in this way prove that they are looking for their own country. For if they had longed for the land they had left, it would have been easy for them to return, but no, they aspired to a better city, that is, a supernatural one; so God, Who prepared the city for them is not ashamed of being called their God.

By faith Abraham went to offer Isaac when God tested him. And so he who had received the promise of God offered his only son although God had told him : Isaac’s descendants will bear your name. Abraham reasoned that God is capable even of raising the dead, and he received back his son, which has a figurative meaning.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the Scriptures, all of us are called to remember that what is important for us all as Christians, is to obey the Lord, our God, and to do whatever it is that He has revealed and taught to us. The Law and the commandments which He has shown and revealed to us through His Son, and which has been passed down through His Church, are all that we are expected to follow and obey, as the basic and fundamental part of being a follower of Christ and as the servants and the people of God’s Light and Truth. If we claim to be Christians and yet totally contrary in how we live our lives and in how we act, then we are no better than hypocrites and unbelievers, who do not truly believe in what the Lord had taught and revealed to us.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle to the Hebrews, of the author telling his intended audience, that is the Jewish converts to the Christian faith, as well as to the rest of the Jewish community, that the Lord Jesus as the Messiah or the Saviour of the whole world has redeemed all of them, all of mankind, by His suffering and death on the Cross. By the Lord’s offering of His own Most Precious Body and Blood on His Cross, the Altar of the Cross at Calvary, the Lord Jesus Himself has given us all the most perfect gift of love from God, and by acting as our High Priest, He delivered us all from the destruction that we should have suffered and deserved because of our disobedience and sins against God. Through His offering, once and for all He had liberated all of mankind from the tyranny of sin and assured for them the reward of eternal life, should they remain true and faithful to Him.

The author also pointed out that the regular and constant offerings and sacrifices carried out at the Temple in Jerusalem were therefore no longer needed or relevant, as the Lord’s sacrifice has assured and won for everyone the forgiveness and absolutions for all of their innumerable sins, from the most distant past to the present, and to the distant future and to the end of time. His offering of Himself as the Lamb of God, the Paschal Lamb is sufficient and worthy to redeem all of us from our many sins and reconcile us to our most loving God and Father. There was (and is) therefore no further need to have the regular and constant sacrifices offered by the priests and the High Priests as the Lord Himself has redeemed us by His one and only singular sacrifice on His Cross that transcends all time and boundaries, reaching out to all of us.

Then some of those who did not understand our practices and faith might then accuse us, as it had happened and is happening even now, that our Catholic and Christian faith is not following the Law and commandments of God because in the celebration of the Holy Mass is described as a sacrifice, that is the ‘Holy Sacrifice of the Mass’. But that is exactly what the Holy Mass is, it is the very same sacrifice of the Lord, the Bloody sacrifice that He performed at Calvary, transcending time and space, which is then commemorated, marked and remembered again and again at every single celebration of the Holy Mass. However, contrary to the mistaken beliefs of those who misunderstood our faith, each celebration of the Holy Mass does not constitute a new sacrifice that the priest performs again and again.

This is therefore unlike that of the priests and the High Priests performing the sacrifices using the Law of God according to Moses, following the rituals and practices that came before the Lord and His revelations, and especially before His great sacrifice on His Cross. Those priests in the past needed to continue offering sacrifices back then because the offering of the blood of animals and the animals themselves, although physically supposed to be unblemished, but those offerings pale in comparison to the offering that the Lord Himself had made on our behalf, as He offered no less than Himself, His whole Being, His Most Precious Body and Blood, being broken for us and being poured upon us, from His Cross, for the salvation of all mankind, all without exception.

Our priests and bishops all acted ‘in persona Christi’ as they entered into the most solemn moments of the Consecration and the Eucharist during the Holy Mass, turning the bread and wine that were brought to the Altar into the reality, essence, and true nature of the Most Precious Body and the Most Precious Blood of the Lord. This means that while physically in appearance it seems that nothing has changed to the bread and wine consecrated to be the Most Holy Eucharist, but the truth is that in all levels of reality, in physical nature, essence, spiritual nature and more, the bread has been turned into the Lord’s own Most Precious Body, while the wine has been turned into the Lord’s own Most Precious Blood. And this belief exists at the very core and foundation of our Christian faith, without which we truly cannot call ourselves as Christians, or as the believers of Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, just as we are reminded of this core tenet of our faith today, we are also reminded through the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews and from the Lord Himself in our Gospel passage today that, what the Lord truly wants from each and every one of us is obedience, for us to listen to the Lord and to follow His will, to follow where He has been calling and leading us towards, and to be humble in all time and opportunities so that we may truly be able to appreciate just how blessed and fortunate we have been that our Lord and most loving God has continuously reached out to us and patiently endured our often stubborn attitudes and refusal to listen to Him. He still patiently called out to us and reached out to us regardless, giving us time and opportunities, again and again, just so that we may find our way back to Him.

Today, all of us should follow the examples of one great saint whose faith and dedication to the Lord can become a great source of inspiration for us to be more faithful ourselves in living our lives as Christians. St. Francis de Sales was the famous inspiration behind the later foundation of the Salesian order, and he was also a pious and devoted man of God, as a bishop and shepherd to his flock. He was always referring to God as ‘God is Love’ and was convinced that God’s Love for us was so great, which drove him to continue carrying out more missions and works for the sake of the people of God. He became a priest and missionary in opposition to his family’s insistence that he took up secular role, having been born into privileged, rich and powerful family at that time. He chose to serve the Lord rather than indulging in his or his family’s own desires.

St. Francis de Sales dedicated himself to his mission, ministering even to the hard-heartened and stubborn heretics who initially refused to listen to him and even accused him to be a sorcerer. When he was appointed as bishop, he continued to serve the people entrusted to his care with great humility, devotion and love both for the Lord and for the people. He preached with great zeal and sincerity, and with great love and compassion, which touched quite a lot among the people, who were either led closer to conversion and reconciliation with God, or drawn away from heretical teachings or being strengthened and affirmed in their faith thanks to the hard work and dedication of St. Francis de Sales. The commitment and love which St. Francis de Sales had for the Lord is something that should inspire us all to do the same as well in our own lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek to be more faithful to God just as St. Francis de Sales and many other saints, holy men and women of God had done before us. Let us all do our best in our daily lives and at every moments to listen to the Lord’s call and His will, and be humble in obeying all that He had told and asked us to do. May all of us be ever more obedient and committed in our faith, and draw ever closer to the Lord and His path. May God bless us all in our every good efforts and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 3 : 31-35

At that time, the mother and brothers of Jesus came. As they stood outside, they sent someone to call Him. The crowd sitting around Jesus told Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are outside asking for You.”

He replied, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” And looking around at those who sat there, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to Me.”

Tuesday, 24 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 39 : 2 and 4ab, 7-8a, 10, 11

With resolve I waited for the Lord; He listened and heard me beg. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.

Sacrifice and oblation You did not desire; this You had me understand. Burnt offering and sin offering You do not require. Then I said, “Here I come!”

In the great assembly I have proclaimed Your saving help. My lips, o Lord, I did not seal – You know that very well.

I have not locked up in my heart Your saving help, but have spoken about it – Your deliverance and Your faithfulness. I have made no secret of Your truth and of Your kindness in the great assembly.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 10 : 1-10

The religion of the Law is only a shadow of the good things to come; it has the patterns but not the realities. So, year after year, the same sacrifices are offered without bringing the worshippers to what is the end. If they had been cleansed once and for all, they would no longer have felt guilt and would have stopped offering the same sacrifices.

But no, year after year their sacrifices witness to their sins and never will the blood of bulls and goats take away these sins. This is why on entering the world, Christ says : You did not desire sacrifice and offering; You were not pleased with burnt offerings and sin offerings. Then I said : “Here I am. It was written of Me in the scroll. I will do Your will, o God.”

First He says : “Sacrifice, offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not desire nor were You pleased with them – although they were required by the Law. Then He says : Here I am to do Your will. This is enough to nullify the first will and establish the new. Now, by this will of God, we are sanctified once and for all by the sacrifice of the Body of Christ Jesus.

Friday, 13 January 2023 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Sacred Scriptures, we are all reminded of the faith that we have in God, the faith that we have in His providence and might, in His truth and love, and then what each one of us should do in proclaiming that same truth and faith amongst all the people we encounter in our various respective communities. All of us have the need to believe in God and His truth, and to listen to Him and His words, and do not harden our hearts and minds against Him unlike what many of our predecessors had done in the past, which were highlighted by our Scripture passages today.

In our first reading today, as we heard from the Epistle of the Hebrews, the author of this Epistle who directed his writings to the Jewish Christian converts and also to the greater Jewish community, wanted to get them all to heed the Lord’s words and call to them to conversion, and to embrace the truth that God Himself had brought into this world, all through the person of Jesus Christ, the Lord and Saviour of all. The author was making references to the past transgressions, disobedience and stubbornness of the people of God in the past, who constantly rebelled against the Lord and refused to believe in Him and His prophets, even after repeated reminders and messages calling on them to turn away from their sins.

The author of the Epistle also likely referred to the attitudes of some among the Jewish community who had consistently and constantly resisted the Lord, His truth and His works, just as one of those examples being highlighted in our Gospel passage today. Essentially, many of the Jewish elders and influential members of the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council refused to believe in the Lord Jesus, and frowned or even outrightly opposed His actions and works, all because they saw Him as a Rival and even a threat to their own influence and power, and in their pride and ego, they continued to close their hearts up against God and His truth, even when His Wisdom and His miraculous deeds had been shown before their very own eyes in multiple occasions.

Such as what happened in our Gospel passage today, where we heard the account of the Lord Jesus healing a paralytic man brought unto His midst through the roof because the room where He was teaching in was so packed with people. The Lord willed to heal the paralysed man, and told Him that His sins had also been forgiven. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who happened to be present there in that occasion immediately took offence at the Lord’s proclamation, and said imperiously that only God could forgive sins, and that what the Lord had done was no less than a blasphemy against God. Yet, they failed to realise first of all that Christ Himself is the One Whom God had promised to be the Saviour of all mankind, and to Him would indeed be granted the authority over all things, even over that of sins.

Through Christ, Whose actions, works, miracles and wonders had shown the proof of His glorious coming, the truth about Himself and Who He really was, God wants to reveal to us the depth of His most amazing and wonderful love, which persists despite our most terrible and wicked rebellion against Him. Through Christ, God has willingly gathered all of us from the distant corners and edges of the world, leading us back to the grace of God and healing us all from our sickness that is sin, just as He had healed the paralytic man his condition. It is He alone Who can indeed rescue us from the tyranny of sin and death, lifting us up from the darkness that surrounded us and bringing us into His eternal light and grace. And yet, there are still many indeed who refused to believe in His love and kindness, despite having witnessed and heard about them.

Why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because of the excess of human pride, ego and greed, all of which had become great obstacles in our journey back towards God. The pride and ego of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, and many of the members of the Sanhedrin had become serious obstacles in the path of their drive towards salvation in God. Those people thought that they were better and superior to others all around them, and would not take the truth of the Lord as the reality that they needed to embrace. Instead, they continued to depend on the flawed and mistaken ideas they upheld, thinking that the messages and words that the Lord Jesus brought into their midst were false and even blasphemous in nature.

Today all of us are reminded not to follow this same path, and instead to follow the Lord wholeheartedly once again, not be swayed by the temptations of worldly power, fame, pride, glory and many other things that had often dragged so many of our predecessors into the path of sin and darkness. We are reminded that we have to be humble in accepting that our ways and thoughts can often be mistaken and flawed, and in God alone we can find the truth and Wisdom which will liberate us from the falsehoods of evil and sin. That is why we are called to reflect upon those passages of the Scriptures and whatever we have just reflected upon earlier so that we may not end up falling into the wrong path of disobedience, stubbornness and rebellion against God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us ought to look upon the good examples and inspirations set by St. Hilary, one of the great Church fathers, also known as St. Hilary of Poitiers, whose love and devotion to God, zeal and faith by which he had lived his life and ministry, can be great source of inspiration for all of us in how we live our own Christian living and faith. St. Hilary of Poitiers was the Bishop of Poitiers who was renowned for his great dedication to his flock and for his opposition to the heretics and all those who had perverted and misused the truth of God for their own selfish purposes. He was particularly energetic and passionate in opposing the then greatly influential Arian beliefs that distorted the truth about Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Saviour of all.

St. Hilary spent a lot of time and effort in reaching out to his flock and opposing those who sought to divide the Church and snatch the faithful from the hands of the Lord’s shepherds, having to endure persecutions and even exile for his courageous struggles for the truth, for the Lord and for the Lord’s beloved flock. He wrote extensively on many aspects of the faith, against the heretical teachings and ideas, which eventually made him proclaimed as one of the great Doctors of the Church for his immense contributions, long after he has passed on from this world. The faith and dedication which St. Hilary has shown us should serve as a good example for us to follow, so that each and every one of us may also follow him in his devotion and efforts in serving and glorifying God, in our own respective lives and actions.

May the Lord continue to guide us through our own journey in life, so that we may draw ever closer to Him, and such that we may ever always be more faithful to Him, and be ever more humble in accepting and receiving Him into our hearts and minds, and being stubborn and hardened in hearts no more. May all of us continue to walk down the path of righteousness and truth, and continue to persevere in faith regardless of the challenges and trials we may have to face for the Lord’s sake. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 13 January 2023 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Mark 2 : 1-12

At that time, after some days, Jesus returned to Capernaum. As the news spread that He was in the house, so many people gathered, that there was no longer room even outside the door. While Jesus was preaching the Word to them, some people brought a paralysed man to Him.

The four men who carried him could not get near Jesus because of the crowd, so they opened the roof above the room where Jesus was and, through the hole, lowered the man on his mat. When Jesus saw the faith of these people, He said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the Law, who were sitting there, wondered within themselves, “How can He speak like this, insulting God? Who can forgive sins except God?”

At once Jesus knew in His Spirit what they were thinking, and asked, “Why do you wonder? Is it easier to say to this paralysed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Rise, take up your mat and walk?’ But now you shall know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

And He said to the paralytic, “Stand up, take up your mat and go home.” The man rose and, in the sight of all those people, he took up his mat and went out. All of them were astonished and praised God, saying, “Never have we seen anything like this!”