Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Casa Santa Marta, in the Vatican and spoke on the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel recalled when Jesus healed the paralyzed man brought to him. Pope Francis explained, “Physical health is a gift we have to cherish, but the Lord teaches us that the health of the heart, spiritual health, must also be cherished.”
Pope Francis' homily was based on Jesus’ miraculous healing of the paralytic in St. Mark’s Gospel. Unable to approach Jesus in the packed house in Capernaum, the four men lowered the paralytic on a mat down from the roof. The pope drew attention to the first words of Jesus: “Your sins are forgiven.” Jesus later orders him to get up, take up his mat and go home. Jesus, a man of God, the pope said, heals, but He is not a medicine man. He teaches, but is more than a teacher, and in this episode, He focuses on what is essential. The pope said physical health is a gift we must preserve, but the Lord teaches us that we must also preserve the health of the heart, spiritual health.
The Holy Father picked out other instances where Jesus focuses on the essential. In the episode of the sinful and weeping woman, Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven.” However, those present are scandalized, the pope said, because there is prophecy, there is strength. In the same way, to the sick man who never got to the pool on time to be healed, Jesus says, “Do not sin anymore.” To the Samaritan woman who asks so many questions, Jesus goes to what is essential in life.
The pope said “relationship with God is essential.” “We often forget this as if afraid of an encounter with the Lord, with God.” He said we do a lot for our physical health, we advise ourselves regarding doctors and medicines, which is good, the pope said, “but do we think about the health of the heart?” The words of Jesus to the paralytic, he said, can help us in this. Jesus tells him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” The pope noted that we get so used to this medicine of forgiveness of our sins, mistakes and anything, that it gets watered down and loses its strength and the power of prophecy that Jesus has when He focuses on the essential.
Today Jesus tells each one of us, “I want to forgive your sins.” The pope pointed out that perhaps someone may not find sins to confess because “there is a lack of awareness of sins.” The medicine needed to be healed from “concrete sins,” “diseases of the soul,” the pope said, is forgiveness. It is simple when Jesus goes to the essentials, the pope said. The health of both body and soul is essential. Watching over our body and the soul, he said, we go to that Doctor who can heal us, who can forgive our sins. He is Jesus who came for this and gave His life for this.