7th December 2020

Monday, Second Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Ambrose, Bishop & Doctor of the Church

Is 35:1-10;    Ps 85:9-14;    Lk 5:17-26


God’s great gift to us is liberation from sin. It may well be that the paralyzed man in the Gospel, who needed to be helped and was totally dependent on others, was better prepared to accept forgiveness. Many refuse God’s forgiveness for the sole reason that they do not want to receive it from another. Asking for God’s pardon requires the acknowledgement of one’s limitations and the imploring divine mercy, but pride may prevent us from taking this step.

Many scribes and Pharisees were not ready to receive salvation. They had made for themselves a religion of moral rectitude and thought themselves able to ‘achieve’ salvation by following their own will. In this way, they failed in the mission of the chosen. Is there not something of this, in our hesitation to go for confession? Deep down we become discouraged because we are always falling back into the same sins. This is a snare of the evil one, who does everything to block us from approaching God’s mercy.

We are chosen to be saved and to be instrumental in saving others. A striking feature of the Gospel narrations is how often people are brought to Jesus by friends. An example is the paralytic in today’s reading. He would never have met Jesus had it not been for his four friends. Two other examples are the deaf-mute in the Gospel of Mark (cf. 7:32) and Nathanael, who was brought to Jesus by Philip (cf. Jn 1:40-48).

The point of all these is clear. Some people would never find Jesus were it not for others. Why does God choose particular nations or persons in his work of salvation? Why has God chosen us to be instruments of his salvific work by bestowing upon us the grace of faith? Not because of our merits but to be of service to the other, leading them to faith. This is the mission of the chosen. Are we ready to say, “Here I am Lord to do your will”?

Responsorial Psalm: Our God will come and save us!

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