“Be ye kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
It is, I think, a most compelling and touching scene, at once a story of friendship and forgiveness and of healing and restoration. In so many ways, it illustrates what St. Paul is telling us in the Epistle. Do we not see here in this Gospel scene the kindness of friends towards one another? Do we not hear in this Gospel Christ’s words of forgiveness to the man sick of the palsy? Is it not the tender-heartedness of Jesus that we see displayed here in all of its wonder and power?
Well, to be sure and wonderfully so. And yet there is something more, something of a more sombre and disturbing nature. There is as well in this Gospel scene the vanity of minds, the darkening of the understanding, the hardness of hearts, the corruption of souls; in short, all the other things that the Epistle mentions. There is an evil in the heart which resents and opposes the good that might be done to others.
The soul is the battlefield between good and evil. And we all stand convicted or better yet, in the imagery of the Gospel, we all lie paralysed, unable to move, our palsied limbs reflecting a deeper paralysis of the soul which we see in the resistance and opposition of the scribes to Christ’s words of forgiveness to the one who was paralysed. They say nothing, but “Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?”