GENESIS 22: 1 – 19
In those days: God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I” He said, “Take your son, your only- begotten son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only-begotten son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place The Lord will provide; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only-begotten son, I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 115: 1 – 2, 3 – 4, 5 – 6, 8 – 9 (R.) 9
R/. I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.
I love the Lord, for he has heard
my voice, my appeal;
for he has turned his ear to me whenever I call. R/.
They surrounded me, the snares of death;
the anguish of the grave has found me;
anguish and sorrow I found.
I called on the name of the Lord:
“Deliver my soul, O Lord!” R/.
How gracious is the Lord, and just;
our God has compassion.
The Lord protects the simple;
I was brought low, and he saved me. R/.
He has kept my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
and my feet from stumbling.
I will walk in the presence of the Lord
In the land of the living. R/.
2nd Corinthians 5: 19
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
“They glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
MATTHEW 9: 1 – 8
At that time: Getting into a boat Jesus crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven, ’or to say ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, take up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Priorities in Prayer
July 6, 2023
After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:1–2)
Just prior to this passage, Jesus cast out demons from two men from the town of the Gadarenes. Afterwards, the townspeople told Him to leave their town, so Jesus departed by boat and arrived in Capernaum, which was where He had been living after leaving Nazareth. This encounter with a paralytic on a stretcher is what awaited Him when He disembarked from the boat.
Recall that when Jesus had returned to Nazareth, where He grew up, He was not able to perform any miracles there because of their lack of faith. Their familiarity with Him tempted them to disbelieve that He was someone special. But now, in His new town where He had recently moved to, Jesus was able to perform mighty miracles because the people had manifest faith.
In the passage above, try to enter the scene. Jesus was just rejected by the Gadarenes, He came by boat to Capernaum, He disembarked and was immediately met with a group of people who had clearly been waiting for Him. Try to imagine their conversations while Jesus was away at the other side of the lake. They knew He would return to His new home, they prepared a stretcher for the paralytic, and then they waited, hoped and prayed that Jesus would come and heal the man. It is also clear that Jesus could immediately sense their faith and was deeply touched by it. One of the most important parts of this passage is that Jesus did not simply say “Yes” to the physical healing and leave it at that. Instead, His response to the paralytic was to first forgive his sins. There is an important lesson for us to learn from this which will help us know how best to pray.
Oftentimes when we pray, we pray for this or that favor from our Lord. We pray for what we want Jesus to grant us. But this story shows us that what Jesus wants for us is different. First, He wants to grant us forgiveness for our sins. This is His priority, and it should also be ours. Once the forgiveness of sins takes place with this paralytic, Jesus also heals, as proof of His power to forgive sins. This story should help us to order our priorities in prayer according to Jesus’ priorities. If we make sorrow for sin our first priority, we can be certain that Jesus will answer us. From there, Jesus knows all of our needs. We can present them to Him but only when we are reconciled within our own heart with Him.
Reflect, today, upon the way you pray each day. Try to understand the importance of making a daily examination of your sins. This must become the first and most important part of your daily prayer. Though many people do not like to look at sin, it is much easier to do when the focus is not so much the sin as it is a focus upon the mercy of forgiveness and spiritual healing you need. The more aware you become of your daily sin, the more mercy you will receive. And the more mercy for the forgiveness of your sins you receive, the more our Lord will be able to bless you abundantly in other ways. Always start with the mercy of our Lord and your own need for that mercy every day, and all else will be taken care of by our Lord.
My merciful Lord, You desire reconciliation