Tìm Kiếm

16 tháng 2, 2015

Homily for the VI Sunday in the Ordinary Time—Year B (Feb 15, 2015)

If You Wish, You Can Make Me Clean
(Mk 1:40-45)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We, as devoted Christians, not only pray often, but love to pray and consider praying a vital way to build close and intimate relationship with God.  Besides, we also, through prayer, present to the Lord our needs and ask Him for blessing, help and guidance.
However, not always our petitions are answered as expected no matter how long and hard we have prayed.
The reasons why we pray with little, if not no, result are the following:
First, we pray for things which are unworthy.

Christ taught us to look for things in heaven as the first priority of our life, saying: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”[1]  It seems that we when praying do the opposite.  We are more concerned and worried about things in this life than things in the afterlife, things temporary than things eternal.
Second, the ways in which we pray are unworthy.
Let us listen to how the man with leprosy in this Sunday Gospel prays to Jesus.  Indeed, he says: “If you wish, you can make me clean.”  We do know how painful and humiliated the man has been when contracted with such a disease.  He has been isolated from society and even from his family.  He suffers physically: feeling the decomposition of his body; psychologically: living in shame, anger, and loss; and spiritually: thinking of God’s severe punishment.  Who but he himself needs healing as fast as possible to be freed from all forms of suffering stated above?  Who but the very miserable person urgently thirsts for the restoration of his dignity in the community of believers, and the respect for his role in society, and his love and care for and service to his family?  Regardless of all these good reasons, he still prays to the Lord: “If you wish.”  It is only with great confidence in Christ’s merciful heart and powerful compassion that the man prays that way.  It is his perfect obedience to God’s holy will that teaches him to let God decide on everything concerning his own life.
We, on the contrary, pray the way the Pharisees do, taking the opportunity to show up our achievements, making an exchange, a trade of interests, based on the merits which we think our service of the Lord God has gained.  It becomes worse when we in praying command God to do our will, offer Him bribe, even threaten Him with punishment for failing to satisfy our needs.  Sometimes, we prove that we do not threaten alone but we do stop praying, even quit going to church, simply because God ignores our petitions.
Third, we who pray are unworthy.
We approach the Lord God in a state of sinfulness—a form of moral and spiritual leprosy—and we still dare to ask Him for everything that we need but His mercy and forgiveness.  Saint Paul teaches that when we have sinned, we are no longer friend but enemy of God.
The message of this Sunday Gospel is, therefore, a reminder of how we should pray with humble heart and obedient mind in order for our prayer to be acceptable to the Lord God.  
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.           

[1] Mt 6:33.