Tuesday, 2 April 2019 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Francis of Paola, Hermit (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Scripture passages we listened again about the healing and liberation that come from God, as we heard in our first reading passage today from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel about the vision he received of the glorious heavenly sanctuary, of the wonderful place and how everything exists in God’s grace and bliss. And then in the Gospel passage we heard another healing miracle of the Lord, as He healed a paralytic man and made him whole once again.

Through all of these passages we have heard today, God wants to remind us all that this Lent, we are called to reflect on our own lives, on how we have lived these lives of ours so far, in our attitudes, actions and life. We are called to remember that our ultimate destination in life is heaven, as God showed to the prophet Ezekiel in the vision. And in truth, heaven is more than just a place, for it is a state of pure bliss and joy of being fully reconciled and reunited with God, where there will be no more sorrow but only pure joy of being with God, enjoying the fullness of His love for eternity.

Unfortunately, all of us mankind have been prevented from enjoying all these things and wonders in this present life, because of our disobedience against God and His will. And the fruits of disobedience are our sins, which have corrupted us and made us to be sick. We are just like the paralytic man who was lying down, unable to move and afflicted at the Pool of Siloam. And no one helped him for the entirety of the thirty-eight years he was there.

And we see how there were many people afflicted by various diseases coming to the Pool of Siloam because of the miraculous healing that happened to all the first person who went into the water when the water was stirred by God’s Angel. But no one bothered to help the paralytic man to go to the water to be healed, and everyone just bothered about their own selves, in wanting to be healed. That was how the paralytic man suffered there for thirty-eight years long.

Jesus knew how long the man had suffered and waited for the day of his healing which did not seem to come at all. But Jesus knew his faith and willingness to be healed, and thus, He approached the man and asked about his willingness to be healed. The man showed that he clearly wanted to be healed, but no one bothered to help him at all in order to be healed. And so, Jesus showed us all an example by reaching out to the man, and healed him even on the day of the Sabbath.

Jesus showed us all what each and every one of us need to do, especially during this penitential season of Lent, a time of renewal and reconciliation with God. First of all, He is calling on us to seek Him for Him to heal us all from our sins. For it is God alone Who is capable of freeing us from the bondage and sufferings of our sins. We cannot heal ourselves from the plight of sin, just like the paralytic man who could not heal himself.

And we know how loving and forgiving God is, that He was so willing to reach out to us, embracing us with His love, and healing us from our pains and sufferings because of sin. That is what each and every one of us can expect, if we are able and willing to turn towards God and seek His forgiveness and mercy. We shall be made whole and good once again, freed from our sins and wickedness, from our pains and trials.

Secondly, which is not less important, is the fact that all of us are not suffering alone in this world. Each and every one of us are equally sinners before God. All of us are afflicted and are corrupted by the taints of sin. And unless we come to seek God’s help and providence, we shall perish and suffer eternal death due to sin. But sadly, many of us are so blinded by pride as well as by selfishness and greed, that we often acted as how the people in the Pool of Siloam acted.

What does that mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that we should not turn a blind eye to the sins and sufferings of our fellow brethren. We must instead show the same love and compassion that the Lord has shown to the paralytic man. It is through our actions and our obedience to God that we can inspire others around us to also follow in our examples and good actions, that together we may be saved.

Today, we should also be inspired by the good examples shown by the holy and devout, loving and compassionate St. Francis of Paola, an ascetic friar and hermit who devoted his whole life to God, serving the people through prayer, through humility and plenty of self-sacrifice, by being exemplary in faith and in all of his words and actions. St. Francis of Paola, as well as many other saints whose life we know about, show us how each one of us can become like them in holiness, for they themselves were once sinners, but they sought God’s healing and were healed and transformed.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He empower each and every one of us that we may live faithfully from now on, and be able and willing to commit ourselves to a life of holiness, virtue and faith. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

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