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A reading from the holy Gospel of Matthew 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven." At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, "Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"– he then said to the paralytic, "Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home." He rose and went home. When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to men.

REFLECTION: "This man is blaspheming."

Today is Independence Day when we celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. The United States was free and no longer subject to the monarch of Britain and they were free from persecution and no representation.

Our nation has always stood up for freedom and has fought for the rights of others in other countries. Imagine losing your limbs or your mind or your health or your sanity because of the sacrifice you made for others. Imagine that these good deeds you did were condemned and unjustly criticized and that which you fought for was ridiculed.

In our most recent wars, our veterans have come back to disdain and shunning and you can see many living on the streets, addicted to alcohol or drugs and homeless. And we just pass them by on our way to downtown activities, never knowing their depression, flashback, nightmares, and loneliness.

Imagine, our dear God, humbling Himself to be man for the sake of saving us from the effects of sin. And then accused, "This man is blaspheming". How do you think Jesus felt when He was persecuted this way?

The paralytic man was crippled not only physically but also spiritually. And Jesus showed God's redeeming mercy and love by healing his physical ailment but also freed the paralytic from the guilt and burden of his sins. Jesus showed that He had the authority from God.

Thanking God for the sacrifices of many for our freedom. Thanking God for our salvation.

God Bless the USA!

PAPA Foundation
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