Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of God from the Sacred Scriptures, and we are reminded that first of all, God is our loving Father, the One Who created us and cared for us, every single moments of our lives. Yet, many of us are unaware of this love which God has for everyone. In fact, we even doubted His love.
That is why today each and every one of us are called to remember our nature as the sons and daughters of God, as those whom God had called from the world, and chosen to become enlightened and as children of the light, turning away from all the darkness of our lives in this world. God wants each and every one of His children to be united with Him, and to receive the fullness of His love, and that is why we heard what happened in the Gospel today.
Jesus healed a woman who had been sick for eighteen years, because she was possessed by evil spirits, who kept her chained to the darkness and made her to suffer. God, seeing one of His children suffering in that manner certainly was moved to mercy and to the desire to forgive her from her faults and sins. That was why, Jesus stretched out His hands and cast the evil spirits from the woman, even though it was a Sabbath day, a day when according to the Jewish traditions and rules, it was forbidden to do anything.
But that was exactly why we have ended up being disobedient and distant from God, because we no longer do what is necessary for us to draw closer to God, our loving Father. Instead, we become distracted and are drawn away by our own temptations of greed, personal desires and ambition, and many more things that have become obstacles in our journey towards the Lord.
For example, as mentioned, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law immediately criticised Jesus the moment He performed the healing on the woman. They rebuked Him and protested that Jesus had disobeyed the laws of the Sabbath. But that was exactly because they failed to understand the true meaning of the Sabbath day, its intention and purpose when the Lord instructed His people to keep it holy.
The Sabbath is a day set aside in the week, much as Sundays are for us now, to be a holy day of the Lord, when the people would set aside their daily businesses and occupations, and instead focused their attention and commitment to the Lord. That is the true intention why the Lord instituted the Sabbath, much like the Sundays we have. Yet, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law have enforced the rules without proper understanding of the meaning and purpose.
Instead, they have ended up glorifying themselves and made use of the Sabbath as means to show the people that they were devout and holy. To them, if someone is to obey the entirety of the Sabbath rules, by staying dormant and inactive throughout the day, not even doing what is good, ignoring the needs of the poor and those who are in need of assistance, then they were considered holy and pious.
But Jesus our Lord made things straight, and plainly spoke to them, rebuking their wrong attitudes and thoughts, reminding them that God loves all of His children, and desires that each and every one of them should be saved and freed from the bondage and slavery to sin. To that extent, He reminded the people that the Sabbath was created for the people of God, as way to ensure and encourage them to give themselves to God, to reorientate themselves and refocus their attention to God.
If God has loved us so dearly and if He had generously given His care and attention, then it is only right and just that we also love Him in the same manner. But this is easier said than done. As the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had shown, there are always many reasons for us mankind to make excuses when we are supposed to love God. And especially when God is not at the centre of our lives, then we will end up drifting away from Him, and we will be lost from Him.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have, therefore, this important takeaway today, that all of us should come to realise more in our very own lives, just how loving and caring God has been for us, in various occasions in our lives, be it in good times or in not so good times, or at the time when we are lonely and troubled. God is and has always been there, caring for us and showing His love for us. Can we not love Him back in the same manner?
Let us all therefore love the Lord our God more wholeheartedly from now on, devoting ourselves, our time and effort to care for our needy brethren, because we must remember that, as the Lord Himself said, that whatever we have done for the least, the last and the weakest among our brethren, we have done it for the Lord Himself. May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to guide our paths in the way towards His everlasting love and grace. Amen.