For which is easier, to say, Your sins be forgiven you; or to say, Arise, and walk?
Read Chapter 9
George Leo Haydock
The power of working miracles, and of forgiving sins, is proper to God, but can be communicated by God to man equally in the sacraments of baptism and penance. (Haydock)
Which is easier. It is more difficult to remit sins than restore the health of the body. St. Augustine remarks, (tract. lxxii in Joannem) it is more difficult to justify a man than to create the heavens and the earth; but Christ speaks thus, because the Pharisees might otherwise have said, that as he could not confer visible health upon the body, he had recourse to the invisible remission of sins, and that it was easy to grant in words, what no one could discern whether it was really granted or not. In this sense, therefore, the word, "Be thou healed "is more difficult than simply to say, "Thy sins are forgiven thee "which any one could say, though he might not effect what his word implied. (Menochius)
Doubtless the healing of the body was easier, for as much as the soul is more excellent than the body, so much is th...
It is easier said than done. Whether the sins of the paralytic were forgiven, only he who forgave them knew for sure. “Arise and walk”: both he who arose and those who saw him arise were able to vouch for this. Hence there is a bodily sign in order to demonstrate a spiritual sign, though its impact is to curb the imperfections of body and soul. And we are given an understanding of sin and many bodily weaknesses to come. Perhaps, too, sins are forgiven first, so that with the causes of infirmity removed health may be restored. .
Thus everywhere His will is to offer proofs clear and indisputable; as when He says, Go your way, show yourself to the priest; Matthew 8:4 and when He points to Peter's wife's mother ministering, and permits the swine to cast themselves down headlong. And in the same manner here also; first, for a certain token of the forgiveness of his sins, He provides the giving tone to his body: and of that again, his carrying his bed; to hinder the fact from being thought a mere fancy. And He does not this, before He had asked them a question. For whether is easier, says He, to say, Your sins be forgiven you? Or to say, Take up your bed, and go unto your house? Matthew 9:5-6 Now what He says is like this, Which seems to you easier, to bind up a disorganized body, or to undo the sins of a soul? It is quite manifest; to bind up a body. For by how much a soul is better than a body, by so much is the doing away sins a greater work than this; but because the one is unseen, the other in sight, I throw i...