Liturgical Colour : Green
Thanksgiving, especially giving thanks on what is due for us to give thanks for, is what is truly lacking in many of us. We do not give thanks to those who had done good things for us. Worse still, we often seek glory for ourselves, even for things that we do not do on our own, claiming honour and glory for ourselves, even of it is not rightful for us to do so.
That is the essence of the readings that we listened to today, brethren in Christ. A thanksgiving for the Lord who had shown us His care and love, and His dedication, one which we often overlook or simply forget, in the joy of the moment, after we had received the goodness of God.
The readings highlighted one of our major shortcomings throughout life, that is to forget the role of God in our lives, and to overlook Him and His role in favour of our own achievements and glory. That is what happened to the lepers who were healed from their afflictions, which out of ten, only one returned to the Lord to give Him thanks for His mercy and love.
We contrast this to the behaviour of Naaman, the Syrian, and one of the leper who is a Samaritan, who showed their affection to those who had done good unto them, thanking them sincerely on the love shown to them. They have done what is right in the eyes of the Lord, and therefore were made righteous.
Why use the example of a Syrian and a Samaritan? Firstly, I want to highlight the importance of understanding the true desire of the Lord in promoting the right attitude and mindset to His people. He did not intend the examples to highlight the differences between the people of Israel and the ‘pagan’ peoples around them.
Why so? That is because, the people of Israel, having been chosen as the people of God through the covenant God had renewed with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants, they have always thought of themselves to be special. That they are always the good ones, the upright, and the ones ensured salvation as their birthright.
They have always looked at the pagans in disgust and contempt, considering them damned and evil, while in fact, as we all know, as written throughout the Old Testament and even the New, as they had rebelled against God, tested Him, doubted Him, and even abandoned Him for other gods, the golden calf, and the false gods of the people of Canaan who lived around them. They had done what is wicked in the eyes of God and did not repent, but grew to be ever worse and deeper in their wickedness
Thus, in line with their stubbornness and God’s love for all mankind, without exception, He had sent Jesus His Son, to reveal the true nature of His love for all. He wanted to show Israel their wickedness and the need for them to repent, as well as for them to realise that being the first chosen people of God does not give them an excuse for their sinfulness, and that they in fact, should welcome all mankind as fellow brothers and sisters in God.
It is important for us to be warm and welcoming, as well as open to others around us, not to be quick to judge and condemn us, but instead seek on what is good within us, and embrace one another with love. That, is what the Lord truly desires from us, not our length prayers of the mouth, nor our empty obedience, but the love and commitment from our heart, for the sake of one another, and for God Himself.
Jesus our Lord, the Son of God had been sent into this world that through Him we may gain healing and new life, that we abandon the darkness of evil and this world, for the light of Jesus who is the light of the world, healing us from our afflictions that are sins and wickedness of the evil one. He had been sent to heal us from the sickness that engulf us, be it physically or spiritually, just as He healed the ten lepers who came to Him for healing and mercy.
That is why, I have to reiterate again of the importance of thanksgiving and gratitude, for there is no greater thing that we have ever observed in the history of creation, other than the ultimate sacrifice Christ had went through for us, for our sake, that we will not die an eternal death but live a life eternal, and live through not an eternal punishment but an eternal joy with God.
We have to beware of this leprosy, the true leprosy of the soul, that is our pride, arrogance and lack of gratitude for the Lord and His love and instead trusting our own feeble human power. We tend to think good of ourselves and do not give thanks and glory to God. We are often ignorant of the love that God has shown to all of us, not least of which, in the giving of Himself through Jesus Christ His Son, He had made us all whole and worthy once again, rescued from hell and given the promise of eternal life, as long as we remain faithful and true to His ways.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us commit ourselves to cast far, far away this leprosy, the sickness of our soul, away from us, that we cast away the evils and sins from ourselves, purifying our heart, body, and soul in the light of Christ, the light that cast away all the illusions of Satan, the impurities and corruptions of this world, and made ourselves whole and pure again in God.
Today, Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ on this world, will consecrate this world, the entire world, to the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in our Lady of Fatima, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of God, through whom Jesus Christ our Lord is born into this world. And therefore, just as she had cared and loved her Son Jesus with all of her heart and all of her love, she too will from now on take care and love our world and all those who live in it, that is all of us, brothers and sisters, all mankind as one.
This world, brothers and sisters, is in great darkness, under the power of evil and Satan, where brothers hurt brothers, where sisters slander sisters, and where mankind slay one another in hatred. It is where violence and injustice are the common order of the day. It is where mankind dwells in their pride, and disobeys God’s commandments and spurns His love on daily basis. It is the perfect example of leprosy of the soul that I have mentioned earlier on.
That is why, through entrusting this world to the care and intercession of Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus, we hope that this world can become a better world, and be healed of this sickness, the leprosy of sin and evil that had infected us all for way too long. It is time for us all, with the help and assistance of Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and through her, with the power and might of God Himself, to break free entirely from the chains of slavery that had bound us for all these times.
May the Lord our loving and merciful God look away from the sins we had committed, and as we approach His throne of love and mercy, may He welcome us back into His embrace, and bless us with His eternal love and grace. May Mary, His Mother also continue to pray for us and care for us in the same way that she had shown Jesus her love, while He was on earth. God bless us all. Amen.