Friday, 15 January 2021 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded through the Scriptures about faith, which means that we really should think of how we should live up our lives with faith in God and with trust in Him. But it is often that we have not been willing to listen to Him or to trust in Him. Instead of listening to Him and obeying Him, we prefer to trust in our own judgments and thoughts, our own knowledge and intellect.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord healing a paralytic man who was brought up to Him through the roof over the place where He was teaching the people. The Lord showed pity and compassion for the paralytic man, and healed him from his troubles, and forgave him his sins. Immediately the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law rallied against Him and was angered that someone claimed to forgive sins, when in their thoughts, no one could have forgiven sin but God alone.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were all those who delved deeply into the study of the Scriptures, the Torah and the words of the prophets of God, studying the Law of God as revealed through Moses, as well as all the rules and regulations that had been passed down through the generations. They were the keepers of the faith for the people, the ones entrusted by God to be the shepherds and guides, leaders and role models for the rest of the people of God.

However, due to their knowledge and privileged status within the community, the high esteem and respect they commanded and gained made them to be proud, and some among them became even haughty and arrogant because of that. This is indeed how pride and hubris, human desires and greed can bring about our downfall, as they caused us to close the doors of our hearts and minds from God. And because God has no place in our hearts when we are too full of ourselves, that is when His truth cannot reach us and illuminate us.

In our first reading today taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews, the author also reminded us of this fact, as many of us failed to believe because we were unwilling and unable to listen to the Lord, and as long as our ears and the doors of our hearts and minds are closed shut against the Lord and His words, then we shall have no part in God or in His inheritance. And no, it is not due to the Lord that this happens to us, but rather, by our own conscious choice and action that we will have brought these upon ourselves. Do we want this for ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ?

Today, as we listened to these words of the Scripture, we are therefore kindly reminded to remove from ourselves the taint of these rebellious and stubborn actions and thoughts from our hearts and minds. And instead, as Christians we are all urged to open our hearts and minds to the Lord, and allow Him to lead us and guide us through life. And just like the paralytic man who humbly and sincerely sought healing from the Lord, we too shall be healed from our afflictions, that is our sins.

If we choose to be like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, in thinking that everything is fine and alright with us, and that there is nothing we need from the Lord or that we are better than others, then we need to remind ourselves that pride and all these hubris, all these thoughts and other desires we have can easily drag us down the wrong path, and in the end, we shall have no part in the Lord and in all the joy and true happiness, glory and wonders that He has promised those who kept their faith in Him.

Let us therefore be humble and make ourselves small before the Lord and others, recognising that each and every one of us are equally sinners before God. And God’s love, compassion and mercy will heal us if we truly seek Him most sincerely from the depths of our hearts. Let us all reject all the temptations and distractions of pride and our many worldly desires that they will not become serious obstacles preventing us from reaching the Lord and His salvation.

May the Lord be with us all and may He heal us from our afflictions, especially by forgiving us our sins when we seek Him with genuine desire to repent and turn away from our wicked and sinful past. May He bless us all in our every good endeavours, and may He give us the strength to remain always faithful, at all times. Amen.

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