Homily for Sixth Sunday in ordinary time B

Today, we celebrate the last Sunday before the Season of Lent, and our readings today are very appropriate and timely. We are reminded in our readings this Sunday to step into the season of Lent knowing who we are and what we can be by the grace of God.

In our first reading this morning, the Lord explained to Moses how he was to know that one was suffering from leprosy and how such person must be seen and treated. The person must be taken to the Priest who declares him unclean and thereafter be separated from the community; isolated, rejected and condemned to a painful life. Leprosy was a terrible disease and still a terrible one even in our time. However terrible this disease may appear to be, it can only affect the body and not the Soul. The sickness or disease that affects the Soul is more deadly than Leprosy and that disease is sin. Leprosy can only destroy our skin, disfigure the body and even kill the body, but after that can do no more. Sin on the other hand can condemn the Soul to hell, and that makes it more terrible than Leprosy. Leprosy can separate us from man, but sin separates from God. Separation from God is the worst form of death. Adam and Eve experienced that separation and it was not funny at all, they sinned against God and without anyone telling them to hide from God they hid themselves. The power of sin pushed them into hiding, they hid themselves from blessings, they hid themselves from the favor of God, and they hid themselves from eternal life. That is what sin can do to us; it can hide us from the blessings of God, it can hide us from eternal life and condemn the Soul to eternal lake of fire.

St. Paul tells us in the second reading to do everything for the glory of God; whatever you do at all, do it for the glory of God. Sin does not give glory to God yet we live in a world dominated by weakness and sin, we live in a world where we are tempted every minute, a world where Souls are ravaged by sin as Leprosy does to the body. But the good news today is that we have a high Priest, Jesus who is able to sympathies with us, declare us clean and restore us to our lost dignity.

In the gospel reading, a leper came to Jesus; one who is supposed to be a condemned, rejected and isolated person; a disfigured and untouchable came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees for healing, and he was healed. We too that are disfigured by sin can equally come to Jesus and plead with him on our knees and receive forgiveness and healing. That is what the season of Lent is all about, coming to Jesus with all our broken hearts and souls. The season we are about to begin is all about coming to Jesus with our disfigured bodies and kneeling before him asking for mercy. It is not the question about if Jesus wants to heal, as the leper asked. For sure, Jesus wants to. It is rather if we wants to be healed? The leper was healed not by keeping a distance from Jesus, but he coming to Jesus with faith. We too must learn to come to Jesus with faith, to approach his throne of mercy without doubt. His mercy, forgiveness and healing brings joy. This is reflected in our responsorial Psalm today; happy the man whose offence is forgiven, whose sin is remitted. O happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no guile.

As we celebrate the last Sunday before Lent, we are encouraged to come into God’s presence with all our sinfulness, with all our weaknesses and ask for strength. Let us use this opportunity the Church is offering us to be truly reconciled to God and to one another. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, we all need mercy, we all need forgiveness and healing.

 

Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as pastor in two different parishes, he was one time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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