“Your sins are forgiven”. Four words that are so very powerful. These words give me such peace when the priest confessor says them to me as I receive a blessing at the close of each and every confession. These four words tell me I have been reconciled with God. It brings great joy, and usually tears, as I hear them spoken to me. As Jesus says to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven” (MT 9:2b).
In today’s reading, Jesus tells the paralytic man to “rise…and go home” (MT 9:6c). There is an action here. The man must leave and go home. From the confessional, I too must leave the presence of the Lord and go back into the world. I can’t just sit in the moment forever. After my confession and absolution, I have been asked by the priest to share my story with others, say some prayers, reflect on specific scripture readings, and a few other things, all requiring some action on my part. I believe each of us is called to go out and do something because we live in communities. We are to be witnesses to others, charged to do so by our baptism, as a light in the world.
Yes, I can go home and sit by myself – which I do regularly. God, however, does not want me, or you, to be alone all the time. We come together to be fed by the Word of God and Body of Jesus each time we go to Mass. At the end of Mass, we are all told to ‘go out and share the Good News’. You don’t have to do anything earthshaking. It can be as simple as smiling, coordinating Vacation Bible School (or buying supplies), helping a co-worker in a way you don’t normally assist, or speaking up when you see an injustice occur. Yes, absolutely tackle the big project or take the first step to healing a personal or societal ill on any level. You can take your gift of forgiveness and pray it forward by praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the sins of the world.
We are so very blessed as Catholic Christians. Now, take those blessings out into the world and share the Good News. Each new day, every new journey begins with one step, no matter the size. Take a breath, say a prayer and keep walking the Way with courage, child.
Beth Price is a Secular Franciscan (OFS) and spiritual director who has worked in several parish ministry roles during the last 20 years. She is a proud mother of 3 adult children. Beth currently works at Diocesan. You can contact her at email@example.com