Monday, December 7, 2015

Offering masses and Indulgences

One of the Catholic practices least understood by others is that of offering masses for the repose of the soul of someone who is deceased.  Why pray for them if they are already dead?

1. The journey is not complete for any of us until it is complete for all of us at the end of time when Jesus returns and raises our moral bodies and makes them like his own. (1 Cor 15:36-49).
2. Some souls have already entered into heaven. Others are still being purified.

If is for those we offer our prayers, including the mass and indulgences.  No, indulgences are not something sold.  The are actions that we put with words to atone for sin that we have committed or on behalf of others. And here is where we come to today's gospel.

In the gospel, the man is paralyzed. He cannot act on his own behalf. He represents so many people are are in one way or another paralyzed. His friends decide that they must help him. They dismantle a section of roof and lower him to Jesus.

The gospel tells us,
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” 

The faith of the friends, brings forgiveness to the paralyzed man.  Their faith expressed in actions (works) brought forgiveness and salvation to the paralyzed man. 

Those who argue that the only way for one to be saved is for them personally to accept Jesus Christ as their savior (and be baptized with water) have forgotten that God cannot be limited. 

Sometimes spiritual paralysis can be worse than physical paralysis. 

One this last day of preparation for the year of mercy that begins tomorrow morning,
Countdown and other info
it would be good for us to pause and call to mind perhaps some loved one who have fallen into spiritual paralysis.  They are so wound, or angry, ignorant of God's love, or obstinate that they cannot or will not embrace the faith. Let today's gospel be source of hope. Do not give up, because God never gives us on any human being.