VOLUME 44 NUMBER 3
Monsignor Peter J. Vaghi is pastor of the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda, Md., and a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. Prior to his seminary studies at the North American College and the Gregorian University in Rome, he practiced law. He is chaplain of the John Carroll Society and the author of The Faith We Profess: A Catholic Guide to the Apostles’ Creed.
When asked to select an excerpt from his most recent book, The Sacraments We Celebrate: A Catholic Guide to the Seven Mysteries of Faith, Msgr. Vaghi chose a passage that speaks to the need for healing.
From the chapter “The Healing Sacrament of Penance”
When you pull back the velvet curtain or open the door to the reconciliation room, think of Jesus healing the paralytic at Capernaum. This man was lowered through the ceiling to the feet of Jesus because his friends—who overcame all obstacles to bring this man to Jesus—were unable to get to Jesus directly through the front door. Before Jesus healed him and told him, “Pick up your mat, and go home,” he said to him, “My son, your sins are forgiven” (Mk 2:9–11). That shows the priority given to the forgiveness of sins, even over the physical healing of the paralysis. In effect, there was a deeper paralysis, the paralysis of sin. For Jesus, the priority was, and continues to be, the forgiveness of sin, the healing of the paralysis of sin that takes hold in each of us from time to time. This gospel passage also underscores that each of us, without exception, is challenged to be involved in the ministry of reconciliation. The paralyzed man could not have come to Jesus unaided. It was his friends, friends hopefully like you and me, that overcame the physical obstacles to bring him to Jesus. The crowd had never seen anything quite like this before.