A Quintessential Gospel for Quinquaegesima Sunday

“Why does this man speak that way?” 
some religious leaders ask in today’s gospel.   
It is a question often asked during his public ministry.
It is a question that often echoed 
in the hearts and minds of people
down through the centuries 
and is still repeated to this very

“Why does this man speak that way?” 
To the rich young man a potential disciple:
“Sell everything you have, give to the poor,
then come and follow me.”

“Why does this man speak that way?”
To self-righteous, judgmental hypocrites:
“Let the one among you who is without sin
cast the stone” at the woman caught in adultery. 

“Why does this man speak that way?”
To people who hate and despise others —
Romans, Samaritans, struggling sinners:
“Love your enemies.   Do unto others 
as you would have them do to you.”

“Why does this man speak that way?” 
To would be followers then and now
who want the easier, softer way of the
prosperity gospel and feels-good faith:
“Deny yourself, take up your cross daily,
and follow in my foot-steps.”

“Why does this man speak that way?”
To people who think discipleship 
only asks that we do not sin, and
that faith is just between God and me:
“Whatever you do or to not do for 
one of my sisters or brothers in need,
you do or don’t do for me.”

“Why does this man speak that way?”
To people who thought and think that
they do not commit and have no sins: 
“If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out!”

“Why does this man speak that way?” 
To the paralyzed man in today’s gospel 
who desperately wants to walk again
and to those who believed only God can:
“Your sins are forgiven.”

As all miracles stories do, this one about
a paralytic man lowered from a roof
has much to say about 
who Jesus is and why Jesus came. 

First of all, Jesus has the POWER 
to forgive sins and heal the sick
and speak with authority because
He is the promised & hoped for Messiah.

Second, came to given PARDON to sinners:
this man, Matthew, the woman at the well,
the woman caught in adultery, the man 
crucified beside him, and others.   

Finally, this miracle tells us of Jesus’ PURPOSE. 
Jesus came to save us from the power of
darkness, sin, disease and death.  
As bad as physical paralysis truly is,
spiritual paralysis caused by sin and addiction
is far, far worse because it causes us 
to fail to even see our sin,
to deny we even are sinners, and
to come to God for mercy and forgiveness.

“Why does this man speak that way?
Our gospel is perfect for the Sunday
before Ash Wednesday and Lent — 
what the Church used to name Quinquagesima 
the fiftieth day before Easter Sunday.

On Ash Wednesday and during Lent
the Lord and the Church call some to
Baptism or Full Communion with the Church.  
They and we are called are challenged to
turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.
Believe that the same Lord Jesus Christ
who healed the man from physical & spiritual paralysis,
will forgive and heal us, too, if…………if………..
we will ask and allow it.   

A Quintessential Gospel for Quinquaegesima Sunday



About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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2 Responses to A Quintessential Gospel for Quinquaegesima Sunday

  1. As always from you, Father Paul, a good strong homily!

  2. Diane says:

    Amen to Salvatore! Each weekend you give a new insight on a scripture passage I’ve heard many, many times. This week I will ponder “spiritual paralysis ” and how it may apply in my life. You are a blessing!

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