(Usus Antiquior) Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 12 October 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we come together to celebrate the love of God and to listen to His words as written and recorded in the Holy Scriptures. And St. Paul in his letter to the Church and the faithful in Corinth praised the people of God for their faith in God, and how the Lord Jesus affirmed the faith of all those who believed in Him, so that all of them will be justified at the end of time and not perish.

And in the Gospel, we heard about the healing of the paralytic man, that is a man who cannot move or walk due to the paralysis of the body, and Jesus healed him to show His power and authority over all things, all sins and diseases, both those of the body and those of the soul. Yes, that is why Jesus came into the world, to show the power of God by the healing of the sick, but more than just the body, as more important is the healing of the soul.

Jesus is the Lord, the God of all creations. One and only God, not created but existing and with the Father before all ages and before the beginning of the reckoning of time, and before creation. He was with the Father and the Holy Spirit, as a trinity of Godhead, Three separate and equal brings, but one in nature. This is our faith and this is what we believe in, in the Most Holy Trinity, Three Godhead but One in perfect unity of love, the One True God, whom the people of Israel also believed in.

And thus, He who is the Word of God, who created heaven and earth and all the creatures and creations in them, was willing to come down upon us, to be with us and to walk among us, taking in humility our humble human form, not that of a king but the lowly Son of a carpenter of Nazareth, that through Him, what God had planned for the salvation of mankind might proceed and be fulfilled completely.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we know that men often fall sick, suffering from the disease of the body. We know now of many diseases, both those that are contagious and non-contagious. We know of the recent outbreak of Ebola virus in Africa, of which many thousands have died, and many thousands more suffered from the disease. And we know how many millions are affected by dengue fever, malaria, polio, smallpox and many other diseases, which many of these cause not just suffering and pain, but eventually even death.

And death comes especially when the disease is left untreated, either because the sufferers are unable to afford the fees needed to cure their respective illnesses, or that the disease itself has yet to be curable, namely no cure has yet to be found. Some disease like HIV, diabetes, cancer and others have not yet been curable, and hence what doctors can do, is mostly to reduce the suffering, or in the case of cancer, that is to excise and cut out the cancerous cells to remove them from the body, or to use chemicals to kill and destroy them.

But all these bodily diseases, illnesses and afflictions pale in comparison to the disease of our heart and soul, namely sin. Sin is indeed a disease, since it attacks us in the depth of our own beings, and not just our soul and heart can be affected, but even our body, for the body obeys the will of our heart and soul. And if sin corrupts our heart and soul, our body will likely also be corrupted by the same sin.

And sin is more dangerous and harmful than the effects of the bodily diseases that I mentioned earlier on. It does not mean that those bodily diseases are trivial, but considering their seriousness and the sufferings they can inflict on us, then we should be even more aware of the kind of harm which sin can cause to us. Remember that Jesus said, that we do not need to fear those that can bring about the destruction of the body, but we ought to worry indeed, those that can bring about the destruction of the soul.

One of the intentions of Jesus is indeed that, we should not fear the devil and his agents. We have seen how scary and destructive they may seem to look, but they have no power over us. They may strike at our body, but they cannot harm our soul. The One who can bring about the destruction of our soul is indeed God Himself, the Lord and Master of all, who has the authority over all things. We know of the Last Judgment, and how the righteous will be separated from the wicked, and while the righteous will enjoy the fruits of God’s promise and love, the wicked will suffer for eternity. What will they suffer for? For their sins indeed!

Yes, so we need to indeed be wary of sin, and how it can bring about our destruction, and how it can harm us both in this life, and the life that is to come. That is why our Lord Jesus is the One with the power and authority to forgive sins. He is the One with the power to heal us from all of our afflictions, body and soul. That is why He rebuked the Pharisees when they doubted His ability to forgive sins, and even accused Him of blasphemy.

Why so? This is because they failed to recognise Christ, when it was so clear that the prophets from all ages had spoken about the Messiah who was to come. And in Jesus all of their prophecies, and all the promises of God were fulfilled. He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, and all who believe in Him will gain life eternal, and total liberation from the sins that have chained us mankind to death.

That marked the difference between the paralytic man and the Pharisees. Both of them were afflicted, with sin and darkness in their hearts. But the paralytic man listened to the Lord and allowed Him to work His wonders in him, healing him from all of His afflictions. Thus, if we follow the Lord and remain completely faithful to Him, we will gain healing through Him and be made justified through our faith, and thus eligible of eternal life.

On the other hand, if we act like the Pharisees, thinking that we are perfectly alright and have no need for healing, then the pride, greed, arrogance and wickedness in our hearts, just as they were in the hearts of the Pharisees and the scribes will be our undoing. Is this what we want for ourselves? Certainly not. Therefore, it is imperative that we take heed of what our Lord Jesus had done and what He had taught and shown us through our Faith and through the Scriptures.

May Almighty God therefore guide us, heal us from our afflictions, empower us, and grant us strength, as well as humility, so that we may have the courage and will to ask Him humbly to heal us and to make us whole again, that we sinners, filled with the sins of our ancestors and the sins of our own daily lives, may be made pure like snow, white and pure as a diamond, and be cleansed from all the diseases of our body and soul. That in the end, after excising all that is evil from our beings, and after decisively rebuking Satan, we are precious and worthy, and are welcome into the eternal life God had prepared for us all. Amen.