A Reflection for Sunday Feb. 19th

Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time Reflection 2012
God’s Love Can Conquer Sin
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD of Mission Sts. Sergius & Bacchus
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy

The first reading for this last Sunday before Lent, which begins on Wednesday, is from the book of Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24-25 and it foretells the wondrous new path that Christ will open in the desert of life with his wiliness to become the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of our human frailty and sinfulness.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. The passage begins with God telling us that we belong to Him. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” This passage reminds us that God will be walking along with us in our daily struggle here on earth if we but ask him.
“I do this for the people I made for myself. I want them to sing praise to me. (God wants us to be joyful and to rejoice and be glad for all that God does for us) “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Because of What Jesus Christ was willing to do in His passion, death and Resurrection God not only forgives us our transgressions and weaknesses, and as we learned in Isaiah, God forgets them forever.
Psalm 41 in another instruction on how we should live our lives every day. It begins with these words; “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble. The LORD protects and preserves them they are counted among the blessed in the land he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness”
The Psalm ends with these words which we should repeat many times every day for all that God does for us every day; “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen” Our response for the Psalm is a plea to God “Have mercy on me, LORD; heal me, for I have sinned against you.”.
On Wednesday we enter into the season of lent by being reminded the we are mortal and that we came from the slime of the earth and we shall return to Earth with these words; “Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return”
In today’s world we are surrounded and inundated by the false gods of Power, Fortune, Fame, Personal gratification often at the expense of others. These are the greatest weapons that Satan uses against us and even had the audacity to use them against Christ.
The servants of those false gods are Discrimination, War, Genocide, Perversion, Hatred, Greed, Dishonesty and Lust and are found profusely in in world that has abandoned God.
In Saint Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians chapter 1: verses 18-22 we read the following; “It is ‘through Christ’ that we answer “Amen” to the praise of God. Remember it is God himself who assures us all of our standing in Christ, and has anointed us, marking us with his seal and giving us the pledge, the Spirit, that we carry in our hearts.”
In Saint Mark’s Gospel we hear the story of how Christ healed the paralytic that was lowered down through an opening in the roof because so many were in the place Jesus was and the doorways were crowded and when Jesus saw their faith he said; “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”Son, your sins are forgiven.” The story ends with these words “ they were all astounded and praised God saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’ (Mark 2:1-12)
We will never see anything like what is possible when we have complete trust in God either. I believe that I and my son have survived the Cancers we had because of the prayers and the faith that we and those who prayed for us to be cured had.
We need to be mindful that God’s love for us is stronger than any adversity and God will never give us an adversity we cannot overcome if we believe and turn to God.
God will do, not just what we desire, but, what is best for us. What ever God decides to do for us will be better than anything we could ever have conceived or asked for.
God knows we are prone to be sinners ever since His perfect creation Adam and Eve disobeyed him by giving in to the temptations of Satan.
Their punishment is our imperfection and we need to make it our life’s goal to attempt to live our lives with LOVE, Complete LOVE of God, love of ourselves as God created us and Love of our neighbor who is every human being on the face of this earth. That was what Christ answered was the greatest of the commandments.
As Lent begins on Wednesday, let’s try to spend the Lenten season taking stock of how we need to improve our relationship with God.
Let’s offer God our thanks and praise by making the changes we need to make in order to become better followers Almighty God.
Let us not be afraid to have others identify us as God’s children by our actions by living our daily lives with actions that follow the guidelines Christ taught us.
Let our actions speak louder than our words and let them be actions of Compassion, forgiveness and love like the love God has for us. AMEN


About friarbobjohn

I am the father provincial of the Franciscans of Divine Mercy and the founder of Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus and all inclusive, welcoming and affirming Old Catholic Ministry to ALL God's children. Our order has parishes in Fall River Massachusetts, and Franklin, Massachusetts as well as Kennesaw GA.
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