Thursday, January 12, 2023

The Feast of St Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

“There is no space where God is not; space does not exist apart from Him. He is in heaven, in hell,
beyond the seas; dwelling in all things and enveloping all. Thus He embraces and is embraced by, the universe, confined to no part of it but pervading all.” (St Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor of the Church).

"When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them.

"They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.

"When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”

"Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?”

"Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?

"But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”—he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”

"He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” (Mark 2: 1 - 12).

Friday 13th January 2023 in the 1st Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.
(315 - 368). French.
Why is France called the eldest daughter of the Church? Look at the dates of St Hilary and you will see why. Before 315 AD, the Church hierarchy already existed in France.

Hilary is remembered in history especially for these reasons:
#1. Hilary helped us understand and profess the Divinity of Jesus Christ. This is contained in the Nicene Creed.
#2.  He worked to undermine the Arian heresy which had plagued the Church for a long time.
#3. Hilary developed an authoritative doctrine on the Holy Trinity.
#4. He helped the Church understand the deeper significance of the Incarnation.

Hilary understood that bad theology inevitably leads to heresy.

Is it easier to heal the body or the soul, asks Jesus in our Gospel for today.

How do you reckon with sin?
"She [Mary] will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Mary's Son will be named Jesus (Yeshua, that is Savior) because He will save His people [us] from sin.

In our key Scripture for today, we see Jesus answer the challenge of the lawyers as to His power to forgive sin. The background of the story is the crippled man lowered from the ceiling to the presence of Jesus. Jesus could have commanded the man to stand up and go home. But instead He said: “Child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2: 5).
Why did Jesus do this? Perhaps to teach that there is a connection between Sin, Suffering and Salvation.

The doctors of the law who challenged Jesus believe that the authority to forgive sins belongs to God alone. Jesus answered them by saying: I will prove to you that as Messiah, I can forgive sins by healing this crippled man. “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”  He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone." (Mark 2: 11 - 12).

Jesus dealt first with the root and source of illness.  The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world knows more than anyone the intricate connection between Sin, Suffering and Salvation.

Every Sunday, we repeat in the Creed:
"I believe in the forgiveness of sins."
There is no salvation without the elimination of sin. Sin is the one cancer that blocks the benefits of salvation in our lives. When Jesus appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room after His Resurrection, He first said to them: "Peace be with you." Then He said: "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20: 23). Thus Jesus gave us the great gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also called Confession or Penance.

Let us pray through the intercession of St Hilary Poitiers to learn the truths of our faith and express it in gentleness and works of charity.

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