Thursday, 12 January 2017 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about Jesus our Lord healing the lepers, who came to Him asking to be healed and to be made whole. Jesus healed them from their leprosy, and asked them to present themselves to the priests that they might be reconciled officially with the rest of their communities and be welcomed back by them.

We also heard about the rebellion of Israel of old, at the time of Massah and Meribah, at the time when the people of God grumbled against Him and disobeyed Him because they complained that they did not have enough of what they desired, and they lamented that their lives in slavery in Egypt was better than what they received from God in the desert.

The link between these two readings from the Scriptures is that we mankind have been afflicted by many wickedness and by the diseases of the body, the flesh and the soul. Leprosy is the disease of the flesh, where the affected parts and limbs of the body would eventually become numb, necrotic and fall off. It was very feared at that time as there was not yet any cure discovered for leprosy. It is a disease which many thought would spread easily by contact, and therefore those who suffered were shunned by the community and were cast out to live in the desert.

In the same manner, sin is the disease of the soul, which corrupts everything, beginning from the inside to the outside, affecting our very beings. Sin causes us to be separated and estranged from God, to enter a spiritual desert, through which we suffer and long for liberation and salvation. It was like the people of Israel at Massah and Meribah, who have disobeyed the Lord and doubted Him, and as a punishment, God made them to wander for many years in the desert before allowing them to enter the Promised Land.

But if we worry because of that, let us no longer worry, for God Himself loves us all, each and every one of us, and He is concerned about us. He wants us all to be saved and to be liberated from our sins, and He wants us to be purified, cleansed and made worthy of Him once again, just as He had healed the lepers as mentioned in the Gospel passage today.

The important question is that, are we willing to be healed from our sins? Are we willing to let go of our past lives and our wickedness? Or do we prefer indeed to follow the path of the Israelites, who grumbled and complained against Moses and God even though they had been blessed with many things? Let us open our hearts and not be stubborn, brethren, or else the fate of those sinners will be ours as well.

It is important that as Christians we should care for one another, and indeed be concerned about the state of each other’s souls. We should not abandon our brethren who are living in sin, by tolerating their sins and allowing them to continue to be sinful. Let us also not fall into the temptations of the devil, and learn to resist the pleasures of the flesh and all sorts of things which the devil are using against us to bring about our downfall.

Let us help one another to walk on this path towards the Lord, and repent sincerely in our hearts, and be converted in our way of life and in our deeds, so that in everything we say and do, we will always remember to be faithful to the Lord, and be able to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to Him. Let us no longer hesitate, but seek Him out and His mercy and love. And let us all begin it from ourselves, by changing our own way of life to follow the way of the Lord, and then inspire others to follow our footsteps as well.

May the Lord be with us all, bless us and keep us in His grace. May He empower us all and give us the strength to carry out His will in this world, through our actions and deeds. God bless us all. Amen.

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