December 5, 2022

Luke 5:17-26

That Gospel story of the paralytic brought by his friends with great effort to Christ for healing, (cfr. Lk 5,17-26) can tell us a number of things. One is that we need a strong faith when we need to ask God for some special favor.

Another would be that miracles are meant more to forgive sins than just curing some physical ailment. That’s because the spiritual health is more important than our bodily health. After all, it is our spiritual soul when animated by the Holy Spirit that gives life. (cfr. Jn 6,63) The body’s life and health ultimately depends on our soul, the principle of life.

Still another lesson we can get from that gospel story would be that we have to be wary of our tendency to have a critical spirit. That’s because in that gospel story, Christ first forgave the sins of the paralytic for which some of the Pharisees around accused him of blasphemy, convinced that Christ was already overstepping his authority and power. That was when Christ proceeded to cure the paralytic to show he had the power to forgive sins since he indeed was the expected Messiah from God.

Let’s be wary of our tendency to be fault-finders, negative thinkers, incorrigible critics, etc. This tendency usually springs from a brand of righteousness that is not properly rooted on the real source of righteousness who can only be God, as shown to us by Christ and inspired in us by the Holy Spirit. It is more self-righteousness.

We have to be most wary of this spiritual anomaly that can come to us anytime. It usually takes advantage of our natural inclination to seek the truth, the good and the beautiful in life—in short, what is right—and corrupts that inclination because it is not properly rooted on the ultimate source of righteousness who is God himself. It’s so blinding that it can even assume the appearance of holiness.

Most prone to this illness are those with some special endowments in life, be it intelligence, talents, wealth, fame, power, health, beauty, etc. When all these gifts are not clearly grounded and oriented toward God, the source of all righteousness, the problem starts.

This is the irony of ironies because one can earnestly pursue the path of holiness and does practically everything to be good and holy, and yet ends up the opposite of what is intended. That’s when one practically has the trappings of goodness and holiness and yet misses the real root of righteousness who is God.

To deal with this tendency properly, we have to see to it that in whatever we do, we should always have purity of intention. And that can only happen when everything we do, from our thoughts, desires to our words and deeds, is done for the glory of God and for none other.

Also, we have to learn how to react properly when we see the defects, mistakes and sins of others. That we see them does not entitle us to be critical and uncharitable. Rather, we should try our best to help them in any way we can. And the most basic thing we can do is to pray for them, even offering sacrifices for them, so that they can be transformed or converted by God’s grace.

We should never be critical-minded for long. While we cannot avoid being critical as our spontaneous reaction, we should try our best to overcome it as soon as possible.

Reflection guide

Would you consider the healing of the spirit more important than the healing of the body?
Recall instances when you witnessed or experienced a “critical spirit” in the parish community or in your circle of friends.


Fr. Roy Cimagala
Chaplain, Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE)
Talamban, Cebu City