Sunday, 5 February 2012
Preaching practice: Homily Sunday Wk 7 Ordinary Time Yr B. What do you think?
We've got preaching workshops at our weekend Residential coming up. Here's my five minutes worth for the 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B. Let me know what you think if you were on the pew-end...
As we approach Lent our liturgical prayer starts to take on a more penitential tone, in fitting with the liturgical season we are to enter on Ash Wednesday. Lent, is a time when we intensify our efforts at prayer, fasting and almsgiving to the poor. It is very easy to become somewhat sombre at the start of it and indeed for the duration of it. However, the readings we have heard this morning are filled with hope for our continuing liberation from the effects of sin.
Sin, those occasions of varying culpability when we fall short in our love of God and neighbour and at its most serious put ourselves at risk of eternal damnation. Rigthly we should despise our sins and resist the true sickness that is sin, present in us, but also present in the corrupt ways of the world. What is the economic crisis and all the other turmoil, hatred, rioting and unrest throughout the world, other than sin, spray-painted throughout the world by Satan?
But hear that collective message of hope in the readings, “No need to recall the past, I it is, who must blot out everything and not remember your sins.” ‘Lord, have mercy on me, heal my soul for I have sinned against you.’”However many the promises God made, the Yes to them all is in Jesus.”, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
The resounding victory over sin and its paralysing effects is the loving forgiveness of God our Father, through his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the true liberator, the only one who can free us from the paralysis of our personal sin and liberate this sinful world.
The Gospel reading demonstrates that Jesus did not come to fix our legs or other physical ailments. He came primarily to deal with root causes, not symptoms. Sin had contaminated the human race from the outset of its origin. This turning away from God is far more debilitating and deadly than physical pain and suffering.
Jesus came to bring us the healing of our relationship with God our Father through the forgiveness of our sins.
Notice that Jesus first forgives the paralytic man’s sins and then heals him of his paralysis. He heals him out of love, but also to demonstrate to the cynical scribes that truly he ( as only God can) can also forgive sin. A demonstration of his divine power.
The condition of the paralytic represents our spiritual condition, afflicted as we are with the contagion of sin, spiritually paralysed. If we examine our consciences at the end of any day we will surely recognise how constrained we are in rejecting evil decisively, failing to love God and our neighbour, whether family, friends, co-workers or others. Consequently this condition affects our sense of joy in living the Life in the Spirit. The condition gives rise to the sinful acts that we do.
We need the loving medicine of forgiveness that only Jesus Christ can give.
All the self-help books in the world are but dust in comparison to the living water of forgiveness that Jesus supplies.
Jesus is present to us in word and deed in the sacraments, just as much as he was in that crowded house in Capernaum. In the sacraments we hear him speak to us. Feel him touch us and change us. Therefore, just like the four friends of that paralytic we have to do what we have to do to get to Jesus to be healed. To have our sins blotted out. To hear him say to us, “My child your sins are forgiven.”
Surely, knowing the deadly effects of sin we’d have to be crazy not to want this?
The sacrament of reconciliation, confession, is available here every Saturday,as the ordinary means for the forgiveness of serious sin and as a devotional practice.
Come and hear Jesus say to you, “My child your sins are forgiven..get up.. and go off home.“