The first reading extols the return of the exiled Israelites. Their return to their homeland prefigures the coming of the Messiah to a transformed and joyous land: “Let the wilderness and the arid land rejoice, the desert will be glad and blossom. Covered with flowers, it sings and shouts with joy.”
In the Gospel reading we have the cure of the paralyzed man and the forgiveness of his sins by Jesus. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven.”‘
When the Pharisees wondered how a man could forgive sins, Jesus cured the paralyzed man of his physical illness:
“‘Now, you shall know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ And Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘Get up, take up your mat and go home.”
We pray for such faith in God.