Read Isaiah 35:1-10, Ps. 85:9-14, Luke 5:17-26

“Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone? When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, why do you raise such questions in your hearts?” (Luke 5:21-22)

A person who cannot be happy with the fortunes of another has a serious problem. A person who is always out to criticize and find faults in everything and in everyone has a serious problem. A person who finds it difficult to praise God but complains all the time has a serious problem. What is this serious problem? It is the sickness of the brood of vipers!

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus was in a house teaching the word of God and suddenly he felt the power of God within him to heal. Behold at that same time, four men assisted their paralytic friend to get to Jesus through the roof of the building. Jesus not only healed this man, but he also gave him a complete dosage of healing by forgiving his sins as well.

By the way, we must note that for Jesus to have forgiven the sins of this man before proceeding to cure his paralysis shows that sinfulness is a form of sickness. Sin is not something to be toiled with; it is not something to be tossed aside. It is an obstacle, a mountain, and a hill that must be leveled for us to receive the full measure of the blessings Jesus wants us to have.

Seeing that Jesus forgave this man his sins and cured him instantly means that Jesus is God and the fulfillment of all their expectation of the Messiah. His ability to do this meant that Isaiah’s prophecy had just come true. As our first reading states: “The eyes of the blind shall be open, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame man leap like a deer and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.”

Ordinarily, you should assume that when something good happens to you, people should be happy for you. Isn’t it? That is why we celebrate as Africans; birthdays, marriages, new cars, new houses, new jobs, healing, recovery, and so on. We are never too tired and never too poor to throw parties.

But then, the bitter truth is that there will always be Scribes and Pharisees around us - persons sick of the brood of vipers’ disease among us who do not believe we deserve to be happy. One symptom of this disease is the speed with which its victims detect errors and flaws here and there. Another symptom is that people sick with this disease are never happy! In fact, they grow old quickly because of too much squeezing of faces.

Watch out when you begin to become too critical lest you miss Christ this Christmas. Everyone was happy because they saw God in human form but blinded by hatred, the Pharisees could only see a man guilty of speaking blasphemy! What an irony!

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, may I be an instrument of joy this advent. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of the 2nd week of Advent. Bible Study: Isaiah 35:1-10, Ps. 85:9-14, Luke 5:17-26)

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu