Friday, 18 January 2019 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Lord speaking to us through the Scripture passages which we have just heard, the invitation to enter into the wondrous and joyful peace of God, which He has given to us all through Christ, His Beloved Son, Our Lord and Saviour. But it was also mentioned that unless we walk in the path of the Lord and disobey no longer, we will not be able to enter fully into that graceful rest in Him.

That is how the Gospel passage today revealed to us what we need to do in order to be able to enter fully into the rest which God has promised and provided for all those who walk in His ways and obey His will. In that passage we heard the healing of a paralytic man by the Lord Jesus, to whom the Lord said, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” And later on, the man was able to walk freely again without any more debilitation.

Why did the Lord say to the paralytic man, that his sins have been forgiven, while his condition was physical in nature? The man suffered from paralysis of the body which prevented him from being able to move easily, and was bedridden. The reason for this is that, the Lord Jesus wanted His disciples and all the people to see sin as a serious sickness of our being, which He alone can heal and amend, and nothing else. And this disease of sin inevitably will also bring about disease to the rest of our being, be it in our mind or in our body or in both.

If we are not cured from the sins that are present within us, then we will end up falling deeper and deeper into the darkness, and into the trap that the devil has set up for us, in order to make us fall into eternal damnation as he had intended. He hardened our hearts and minds with pride and greed, with ego and desires, that prevented us many times from being able to seek out His mercy and forgiveness.

That is what St. Paul wrote in the Epistle to the Jewish Christians, or the Hebrews, as he spoke of the salvation of God that has come into their midst, and yet, there were many who were resistant and stubborn in thinking that they did not need God’s healing grace and salvation. And this applied to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who had witnessed the great miraculous deeds the Lord had performed, and yet, they who have the greatest knowledge about the coming of the Messiah and the Scriptures did not want to believe in Him.

And this is likely caused by the pride and ego they had in them, thinking that their version of faith and Jewish customs could not have been wrong. And they were dead set in their ways, not being able to see the works of God unfolding before their eyes. They saw the Lord as an upstart and as a great rival for influence in the community of the people, and they increasingly saw Him as a threat to their worldly influence and authority.

They all might be perfectly healthy in the body and mind, unlike the paralytic man who was so weak and ill that he was not even able to move on his own, having the need to be carried by his friends to the presence of God. However, unlike the paralytic man, who received healing from God, both in body and in his soul, cleansed from his sins, because of his great faith, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law present at that occasion remained in sin.

This is how pride, ego, ambition, greed and worldly desires can be so dangerous, as they are great obstacles in our way to attain the salvation in God. Instead, we must be like the paralytic man, who made the effort, despite all of his difficulties and debilitation, in all humility, to present himself before the Lord and asking Him to heal him from all of his sicknesses and afflictions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we too must realise that deep inside, we are still sick from the corruption of sin, caused by our disobedience against God. Are we able then to humble ourselves and to seek God with all of our hearts and minds from now on? We should turn towards God with all of our strength, and seek Him and His merciful love, for the healing and salvation of our souls. May the Lord, our loving God and Father, continue to love us and bless us, each and every days of our life. Amen.

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