Pope Benedict XVI Asks for Prayers, Reflects on Gospel Healing of Paralytic
(22 Feb 09 - RV) Pope Benedict XVI asked the faithful to keep him in their prayers
this Sunday, the final Sunday before the start of the great penitential Season of
Lent, and the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.
The Holy Father also reflected
on this Sunday’s Gospel account of Christ’s healing a paralyzed man.
said physical healing is the sign of a return to spiritual health, and recalled how
Christ intended to use the healing to show the power of the Son of Man to forgive
sins on Earth.
The Pope said sin is a sort of spiritual paralysis, from which
the only power of God’s love can liberate us.
The Holy Father also recalled
the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, which falls on this Sunday, as well as the Season
of Lent into which we shall enter this week.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” said
Pope Benedict, “this Feast of the Chair of Peter gives me the chance to ask you to
accompany me with your prayers, that I might faithfully execute the high duties that
the Divine Providence has entrusted to me as Successor to the Apostle Peter. Let us
invoke the Virgin Mary, whom we celebrated yesterday here at Rome as ‘Our Lady of
We ask her also to help us enter with the proper spiritual disposition,
the Lenten Season that shall begin this coming Wednesday with the eloquent Rite of
the Imposition of Ashes. May Mary open our heart to conversion and docile attention
to the Word of God.”
After the traditional prayer of Marian
devotion, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several different languages, including
In today’s liturgy, we witness Jesus healing the paralytic lowered
to him through the roof because of a large crowd. This passage reminds us that the
Lord has power to forgive sins, and that nothing stands in the way of his mercy when
we seek him with pure and contrite hearts! Let us never hesitate to ask his pardon
– especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation – so that we may become better
instruments of his love for others. God bless you all!