Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily
July 1, 2021
Deacon Steven M. Johnson – St. James, Belvidere, IL
Homily for the 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 7-1-21, Year B
Blessed Junipero Serra, Priest
READINGS: 1st Gn 22:1b-19; 2nd; Gospel Lk 1:9-1-8
Theme: Miracle of Forgiveness
How many times have we read about miracles in the Bible that God or Jesus worked and said to ourselves, “If only I could experience a miracle like that.” I have often wondered what it was like to have witnessed the parting of the Red Sea or the raising of Lazarus or to meet Christ after His resurrection. It is not that any of us would stop believing because we did not see a miracle, for we know that Jesus blesses those who have not seen and yet believe. Rather, to witness a miracle would be edifying and strengthening to us. It would be God’s gift to us.
In these times, it can be hard to find real miracles in this world. Everyone wants to explain them away in some scientific expression, illusions by clever people, or natural phenomenon that just exist in nature.
In reality, miracles, which God creates, happen every day but are less known or even hidden from those who struggle to believe or do not believe at all. When we are silent and open our hearts to God so He can speak to us, it can be in these times that He reveals Himself to us, which is a miracle itself.
But, if you really want a more obvious miracle, we only need to look to today’s readings, especially the Gospel.
Jesus performs two miracles in today’s passage. First, He forgives a man of all his sins. Then to prove to the unbelievers that He has the authority to perform this miracle of forgiveness, He performs another one in healing the paralytic of his infirmity by telling him to rise, pick up his stretcher and walk home. And so, he did.
We are very much like the paralytic since, in a way, he represents the paralyzing sin that can cripple us from time to time. For you and me, Jesus can perform a miracle as often as we need it as long as we have faith that Jesus will do it, just like the paralytic did.
Through the Sacrament of Penance, we are witnesses to Jesus’s miracle of forgiveness for our very own sins each and every time in the confessional. There are very few times the Church will condone that you take advantage of someone, but in the case of Christ, acting through the priest in the confessional, the Church wants you to take advantage of Him and experience the miracle of forgiveness often.
If you really want to witness a miracle firsthand, just go to Confession. Jesus wants to perform a miracle for you as often as you need it. So, take advantage of Christ’s offer, and like the paralytic, let Jesus perform a miracle for you too, so you can rise from the burden of your sins, pick up your life and walk to your home in heaven!