Monday, 29 February 2016 : 3rd Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the famous and well-known story of how God healed Naaman, the Syrian general through the prophet Elisha, from his disease of leprosy when he sought for help and healing in God. Naaman was made whole and had his leprosy healed, when he obeyed the commands of Elisha to wash himself seven times in the River Jordan.

However, that did not come about easily, as initially Naaman refused to do as the prophet Elisha commanded him to do, thinking that he was above doing the seemingly simple chore that Elisha had asked him to do. In his anger, he almost left and went away without being healed, if not for his servants who tamed down his anger and then persuaded him to be humble and to listen to the will of God spoken through His prophet Elisha.

And in the Gospel today Jesus our Lord made it clear to the people of His time, how God at that time, chose not the people of Israel but someone from Syria, from the neighbouring kingdom of Aram, a stranger, a foreigner and even an enemy of Israel, to heal him from his afflictions of leprosy. And it was also reiterated how God chose the suffering widow of Zarephath in Sidon, also an outsider and foreigner to Israel, to bring His help and mercy.

The people of Israel at the time thought that because they were the chosen race, the chosen people of God, then they were favoured and could do things as they liked, and they would still receive the favour from God, and shunned the other peoples of the other nations as pagans and barbaric, unworthy of God’s favour and forgiveness. And yet, they were proven wrong, as God showed that His love is given freely to all.

It was not about one’s background, birth, upbringing, descent or any other parameters that decided our faith, but rather, it is our actions, our words and deeds that lead us to either do things that are in accordance with the will of God, or things that are abhorrent and wicked in the sight of God. And all of us have been given freedom to choose by God, our free will, to decide what we are to do with our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the story of Naaman, and also the widow of Zarephath is a reminder to all of us that God is trying to reach out to us, and He wants us to be reconciled with Him. It is contrary to what many of us must be thinking, if we thought that God is an angry God Who punished all those who have sinned against Him without any chance of redemption. It was we ourselves and our refusal to accept His mercy that had condemned us to destruction.

In this season of Lent, we are called like Naaman to be freed of our own affliction, the leprosy of our souls, that is sin. Sin is the disease that had been corrupting us and causing us all to be sick, and the cure can only be found in God, in our obedience to God and to His will. We must not be proudful or be filled with hubris and with selfishness, or else we might be like Naaman before he submitted to God’s will, or be like the Israelites who have sinned against God.

Therefore, let us all in this season of Lent commit ourselves to do things and works that bring good to others around us, helping one another and sharing the love which we ought to have inside each one of us, and therefore through what we have done in obedience to God, we may be found righteous and worthy, and He will bestow upon us all that He had promised on us. God bless us all. Amen.

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