ANGELUS, February 22, 2009: On the Gospel of Mark 2:1-12
"This Gospel episode shows that Jesus has the power not only to heal the sick body but also to forgive sins; and indeed, the physical healing is a sign of the spiritual healing that his forgiveness produces. In effect, sin is a kind of paralysis of the spirit, from which only the power of the merciful love of God can liberate us, allowing us to pick ourselves up and set out again along the path of goodness.
"In today's liturgy, we witness Jesus healing the paralytic lowered to him through the roof because of a large crowd. This passage reminds us that the Lord has power to forgive sins, and that nothing stands in the way of his mercy when we seek him with pure and contrite hearts! Let us never hesitate to ask his pardon - especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation - so that we may become better instruments of his love for others. God bless you all!"
MESSAGE FOR LENT -“Christ made Himself poor for you” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Receiving and Offering Mercy
Each year, Lent offers us a providential opportunity to deepen the meaning and value of our Christian lives, and it stimulates us to rediscover the mercy of God so that we, in turn, become more merciful toward our brothers and sisters.
Almsgiving and the Forgiveness of Sins
Saint Peter includes among the spiritual fruits of almsgiving the forgiveness of sins: “Charity,” he writes, “covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pt 4:8). As the Lenten liturgy frequently repeats, God offers to us sinners the possibility of being forgiven. The fact of sharing with the poor what we possess disposes us to receive such a gift. In this moment, my thought turns to those who realize the weight of the evil they have committed and, precisely for this reason, feel far from God, fearful and almost incapable of turning to Him. By drawing close to others through almsgiving, we draw close to God; it can become an instrument for authentic conversion and reconciliation with Him and our brothers.
On the Reality of Sin and the Sacrament of Penance
(Feb. 7, 2008, meeting with Parish priests and clergy of the Diocese of Rome:)
Today we are used to thinking: What is sin? God is great, he knows us, so sin will not count, in the end God will be good to all. It is a beautiful hope. But there is justice and there is true guilt. Those who have destroyed man and the earth cannot immediately sit at table with God together with their victims. God creates justice. We must keep this in mind.
We must also speak of sin and of the sacrament of forgiveness and reconciliation. A man who is sincere knows that he is guilty, that he must begin again, that he must be purified. And this is the marvelous reality that the Lord gives us: There is a possibility of renewal, of being new. The Lord begins with us again and in this way we also can begin again with the others in our life.
This aspect of renewal, of restitution of our being after so many mistakes, after so many sins, is the great promise, the great gift that the Church offers, and what, for example, psychotherapy cannot offer. Psychotherapy is so widespread today and it is also necessary in the face of so many destroyed and gravely wounded psyches. But psychotherapy’s possibilities are very limited: It can only try a little to re-establish balance in an unbalanced soul. But it cannot give a true renewal, an overcoming of these grave maladies of the soul. And for this reason it always remains provisional and never definitive.
The sacrament of penance gives us the occasion to renew ourselves completely with the power of God — “Ego te absolvo” — which is possible because Christ took these sins, these faults upon himself.
It seems that today indeed this is a great necessity. We can be healed again. Souls that are wounded and sick —as is the experience of all — need not only advice but true renewal, which can come only from the power of God, the power of crucified love. It seems to me that this is the great nexus of mysteries that are truly inscribed in our life.
We ourselves must meditate on them again and in this way bring them again to our people.