Monday, 18 September 2017 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us today heard about the story of the army centurion in the Gospel passage, where he requested the Lord Jesus to heal his very sick servant. Yet at the same time, feeling the uttermost unworthiness upon him, the army centurion spoke to Jesus in the words we are surely familiar with, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.’

In this we see how each and every one of us are afflicted in our body, our mind, our heart and our soul, all of us are sinners who are unworthy of God, just like the army centurion who felt that he was unworthy that God should come to his house even though it was for the healing of his servant. He did so because, probably he was not Jewish but Greek or Roman as was custom at that time for a Roman army centurion, and it was considered taboo for a non-Jew to enter the house of a Jew and vice versa.

How about us? Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us have been tainted by sin, the affliction that is affecting all of us, corrupting our mind, heart, body and soul, our entire being. And it was because of our sins caused by our disobedience against God, beginning with the disobedience of Adam and Eve, our first ancestors that we have ended up being cast out of Eden, the gardens of God, and sundered away from His grace and love.

Therefore, in our state of sin, we have become unworthy of God, and we cannot stand in God’s presence, because He Who is all good and perfect cannot tolerate the presence of sin, just as darkness cannot withstand the bright light of the Lord. All those who sin and have been corrupted by sin are therefore supposed to be damned and rejected, to suffer the same fate as accorded to the devil and his angels, that is eternal suffering in hell fire.

Yet, that was not what the Lord wanted to happen to us, as He gave us all a new hope, through Jesus Christ, the Mediator between God and mankind, for He, having taken up the flesh of man, taking up our own human form upon Him, lies between God the Creator and Master of all, and the children of man. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man, having both divine and human natures united in the person of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Therefore, He is the bridge that has bridged the once uncrossable chasm between God and us, caused by the sins we have committed, which separated us from God. He has given us another chance to be reconciled with God, and through His cross, His suffering and death on that cross, He has brought us mankind back to the loving embrace of God, our loving Father and Creator.

Yet, many of us are reluctant to return to Him, and many of us are even ignorant or hostile to His love. We do not act in the manner the army centurion had done, but instead, first of all, many of us think that we cannot be afflicted or that we are in the wrong. We think that our way and what we have done in life cannot have been wrong, and that we are fine in whatever it is that we are doing. Yet, the reality is that many of us are heading down the wrong path.

Should we let our pride and ego to become obstacles in our journey towards reconciliation and reunion with God? Should we let our obstinance and the temptations we encounter in life to derail our effort and progress towards the salvation in God? We should not. We should instead heed the examples of the army centurion, who despite knowing that he was unworthy, but he had complete and full faith in the Lord, that the Lord will be able to do what He wills to do for those whom He loves.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are God’s beloved children, and yet we have been sundered from Him and were separated from His grace because of our sins and mistakes. Now we all need to realise just how sinful and wicked we have been, how corrupted and unworthy we have been, and then we have to realise that there is a way out of this predicament. It is through our faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, that we will be saved.

Let us all therefore from now on, draw ever closer to God’s loving embrace, and sincerely seek repentance and resolve to turn away from all of our sinful habits and actions. Let us all no longer be stubborn and prideful, but instead, humbly, like the army centurion in the Gospel today, seek God’s forgiveness and mercy, which He readily gives to all those who are willing to repent and desire reconciliation with Him. May God bless us all. Amen.

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