Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Lord Who extended upon us the wonders of His merciful love and the forgiveness that He is willing to give us, His beloved ones. He has given us good hope in the midst of the darkness and the uncertainty surrounding our lives in this world. Yet, unfortunately, the sad reality of this world is that, many of us are still ignorant of God’s love and mercy being ever present in our midst.
Why is that so? That is because we mankind are often too distracted by the many temptations and allures of worldly things that prevent us from realising just how much God loves us. We put our trust easily in things such as money, power, fame and influence, societal positions and honour, adulations and human ambitions, which give us satisfaction and pleasures of the body and mind, but which in truth, continue to enslave us to sin.
And that is how sin continues to reign over us mankind, ever since we started to disobey God and instead follow the temptations of Satan. And sin has become like a veil that darkened our sight and prevent us from seeing in righteousness and realising the love of God. And it is also a very dangerous disease that will continue to affect us and grow ever stronger in its hold in our whole being, corrupting us body, mind, heart and soul.
That is why, many of us are sick, although we may appear to be perfectly healthy in the body. Yes, that is because although our physical body may be healthy, but the sin present in us is the true sickness that is often overlooked and ignored, until the time when it is too late for us to rectify this major problem we have in our lives, that is when we look back with regret for having indulged in our sinfulness right to the last day when judgment comes for us.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, unlike any other worldly and earthly diseases and sickness that can be cured or even if incurable, affects only the physical body and not the soul, sin affects all aspects of our life, and unless we get rid of sin from our lives, then sin will continue to harm us and affect us. Sin is the fruit of disobedience against God, and so long as we remain in the state of sin, we cannot be with God.
The only healing for sin, is God’s grace and forgiveness. He alone is capable of forgiving sins, as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law rightly pointed out in today’s Gospel passage. However, the one important fact that they failed to realise is that, while they criticised Jesus for seemingly healing the blind man by forgiving his sins and saying that God alone could forgive sins, they failed to see that Jesus is that one and only True God, from whom everyone can receive forgiveness for their sins.
And do we all realise that God has also extended this forgiveness through those whom He has appointed in this world to be His ministers and servants? He established His Church in this world, and entrusted to St. Peter, the keys of the kingdom of heaven, by the words, “And I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, for whoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whoever you unbind on earth will be unbound in heaven.”
This was the authority given by the Lord to all of His priests, His bishops, all those who have followed in the footsteps of the Apostles to whom He imparted this power and authority, the power to forgive sins. Each of the bishops in the Church trace their authority to the unbroken line of succession right from the Apostles themselves, and similarly, the priests are also ordained by those same bishops.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we continue to proceed through this time of Advent, the Scripture readings today are in fact inviting us to listen to the Lord calling upon us to return to Him, to be reconciled with Him and to be forgiven from our sins. The opportunities have been given to us, and we can readily find priests and anyone who have been given the authority to forgive our sins. But the next question then is, are we willing to be forgiven and are we able to commit to follow God’s path and abandon our past sins from now on?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us spend some time to reflect on how we can make a difference in our lives from now on, and how we can devote ourselves with a new commitment to love God with all our hearts and minds, with all of our efforts and strength form now on? Let us all spend this Advent season to love the Lord more and to devote ourselves to Him, seeking forgiveness from all the sins we have committed by going to confession, and regularly taking part in the Holy Mass. May the Lord be with us all, now and always. Amen.