Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, through the Scripture readings, we are reminded of the hope that we all have in the Lord, Who will bless us with true joy and happiness. It was just yesterday that we celebrated the joy of expecting our salvation in Laetare Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent. We remember that while this season of Lent is a time for penitence and repentance from our sins, it is also a time to be joyful, precisely because we all know that God had had mercy on us sinners.
Through God we have received healing for our afflictions and sickness. We may be wondering if we are sick, because to us, we may seem to be perfectly healthy in body and mind. Yes, we may indeed be very healthy, but that is because what we see are just the body and the appearances alone. Deep inside, we are all really sick and filled with all sorts of diseases, all because of our sin.
Yes, as I have often mentioned, sin is the disease and sickness of the soul, and it is the source of all other maladies and sicknesses that affected our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and indeed our entire being. It is because of that sin which afflicted us, each and every one of us that we have had to suffer various things either physically, mentally or spiritually in this world.
Yet, many of us have not realised that God wants us all to be healed. It is often that we think that God is angry at us for having sinned against Him, and therefore we distanced ourselves. We acted as if we are some filthy and unworthy servants, who have disobeyed Him, and incurred His wrath and anger. Thus, we retreat in shame and not daring to show our face before Him.
According to St. John Chrysostom, a great saint of the early Church, all of us ought to realise that it is sin itself that is the problem, and not what we perceive as God being angry at us for having sinned. He said, “Be ashamed when you sin, not when you repent.” Through these words, he wanted to show us that while we often worry about when we want to repent from our sins, because we are afraid of God’s anger and punishment, but if we remain in sin, what will happen to us is far worse than the consequences of our repentance.
All of us have to realise that because of our sins, caused by our lack of faith and discipline, that we fell into temptations and persuasions of the devil, we have been tainted in our body, mind, heart and soul. And as we have been corrupted by sin, we have become unworthy of the Lord, Who is all good and perfect, and can tolerate no sin at all in His presence.
If we insist on being stubborn or being afraid of looking forth to God’s forgiveness, because we are too proud to admit that we have been wrong, that we have sinned, or because of our fear for reprisal, or because we are ashamed and concerned about our appearances and standing in our society, then, brothers and sisters, we should know that because of that failure to repent from our sins we will be led into eternal damnation and condemnation in hell.
Yes, that is the fate that awaits all those who have sinned and refused to repent. All of us mankind have sinned, without exception. Only Christ Himself is completely free from all sin, for He is both God and Man. But that is exactly what He had done for our sake. He gave Himself for us freely out of His free will, desiring to be the perfect and unblemished sacrificial victim, laid on the Altar of the Cross at Calvary, to become our Saviour.
By His blood we have been cleansed and purified, all of us who believe in Him and receive Him wholeheartedly as our Saviour. Yet, time to time again, many of us fall into sin and commit things that are unbecoming of us as Christians, as God’s followers and disciples. That is what this season of Lent is for, a time for us to reflect on our lives and look at all the sinful deeds we have committed.
This is the time for forgiveness, for the changing of hearts and minds, that while once we have been delinquent and disobedient against the will of God, now we can start to devote our energy, time and effort to do what is required of us as Christians. Let us all learn to forgive one another, be charitable in our deeds, giving to the needy and the poor all that they need, sharing our blessings with them.
May this season of Lent be the time for us to be closer to God, and to reevaluate our lives for the better. May each and every one of us be better able to live our lives as true Christians, not just on paper alone, but also through our words and deeds, through real action by which we show love for our fellow brethren, as much as we love the Lord, through Whom we have received healing and forgiveness from our sins and wickedness. May God forgive us all our sins and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.