February 19th, 2012, Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What are some of the new beginnings you have made in your life? What difference did these new beginnings make? Why do we need new beginnings in our life of faith?
How does the sacrament of Reconciliation help us to hear God saying to each of us, "Your sins I remember no more?"
Reading 1 Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25
Reading 1 ReflectionIn this reading we hear the Lord announce, through the prophet Isaiah, a new exodus by which God's people will return home. They have been in exile in a pagan land. But now they are to forget their former sinfulness that was the cause of their exile. "See, I am doing something new!" the Lord promises. He will make a smooth path for them and they will once again be free to worship him in their own land.
Like the Israelites before us, we rejoice over God's merciful words: "Your sins I remember no more."
Discussion Questions for Reading 2How do you respond when someone does not keep his or her word to you? Why? Whose word can you always count on? How do you know?
What does it mean for you to always be "Yes" to God's
word? Who or what might help you to be that "Yes?"
Reading 2 2 Corinthians 1:18-22
Reading 2 ReflectionOnce again Paul is writing to the Christians at Corinth to straighten out some misunderstandings between them. Some have accused him of changing his mind about his commitment to them. However, Paul insists that he, like God himself, is faithful. Like the Son of God's message, Paul's message is always "Yes" to God's word.
By their Baptism, the Corinthians have received the Holy Spirit. Therefore, they too can say "Yes" to the truth of God's promises.
Who or what needs healing in your community?
Discussion Questions for GospelHow have you sometimes used your imagination and your skills to help others? Who has helped you in a way that you will always remember? Why is it important for followers of Jesus never to give up on trying to help others?
Why do you think Jesus forgave the man's sins before he healed his body? If you had been there, what might you have said to the authorities who criticized Jesus?
Gospel Mark 2:1-12
Gospel ReflectionFour friends of a paralyzed man in today's gospel story prove that "Perseverance pays off." Jesus is surrounded by such a crowd that the only way to reach him is through the roof. The friends lower the man through a hole in the roof and deposit him on a mat at the feet of Jesus. Their efforts are rewarded when Jesus not only heals the man but also forgives his sins.
The religious authorities accuse Jesus of blasphemy because God alone can forgive sins. But Jesus assures them that he "has authority to forgive sins on earth." They are temporarily silenced. The crowd, however, loudly praises God for Jesus' healing power.