We are always amazed and enthralled when we hear of a miraculous healing. For example, it was announced today that Pope Benedict XVI had approved the beatification of his predecessor, John Paul II, based on the miraculous healing of Sr. Marie Pierre Simon from Parkinson's disease. Outward signs of sanctity such as this are regularly required for advancement of a cause for sainthood. As wonderful as these signs are, and as amazed as people become when hearing of them, today's Gospel tells of the truly amazing power of Jesus - the power to forgive sins.
Time after time we hear stories of Jesus interacting with people and forgiving their sins. Most of the scribes and pharisees considered this to be blasphemy, since only God can forgive sins. The times He cured people of their physical infirmities were usually a way of "proving" that He did indeed have the power to forgive sins. It is clear that Jesus and the scribes and pharisees themselves considered the physical healing to be less incredible than the forgiveness of sins.
It is curious how things have changed in 2,000 years. Even with the advances in medical science, we still marvel at what can be done to assist people with physical ailments, injuries, etc. But when it comes to the spiritual healing that comes from forgiveness, we overlook the importance and power that such an act can have. Day after day, week after week, miraculous healings take place in the Sacrament of Reconciliation all over the world. Yet not only do we ignore the impact it has on the lives of people, we so often do not take advantage of this healing that is available to us.
Perhaps we need to stop and become more aware of our need for this healing. It may be that it is easier to see the need for physical healing than spiritual healing. But the sad thing is that more people are in need of spiritual healing than physical. And the means of this healing is available without cost from any priest. I pray that we will come to appreciate the wonderful power that Christ has given to His Church, and that we will all consider availing ourselves of this greatest healing of all.