YEAR C: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK OF ADVENT
HOMILY THEME: Healing is Always Available for Those who Believe.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
_“The blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then he touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith be it done to you.” *Matthew 9:28-29.*_
Following the pattern of our reading since the beginning of Advent, our first reading today proclaims a prophecy of what was to come and our Gospel passage narrates a direct fulfilment of that prophecy. Yesterday, Isaiah prophesied about a banquet of rich food and we saw how Jesus fed the multitude with just seven loaves and a few fish. Today, Isaiah speaks of a time that the deaf shall hear and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. Then in our Gospel passage, we read how Jesus cured the two blind men.
The first point to take home today is that there can be no doubt about Jesus Christ. Everything single thing that was said about him was directly fulfilled. We can place all our trust in Jesus because He is truly the Son of God, the Saviour of the World, the One who was born to take away our blindness, to cure our sickness, to feed our hungry stomach, to protect us from oppressors and danger. Christmas is a yearly reminder that God did not and will never abandon mankind in all of its predicaments.
The second lesson we learn today is the power of our faith and how that faith effects healing in us. A priest once told a story of a man who was very sick, so much so that his parish priest kept taking Holy Communion to him from time to time. This went on for many years and there was no sign of improvement in his sickness. One day, his children decided to take him to a crusade program organised by a Pentecostal Church and to everyone’s surprise, this man actually received healing in that program. You may then wonder, “Why didn’t the Holy Communion work? What happened?”
This case points out one fact; it is not our access to Jesus Christ or our Church that guarantees what we get from him but our Faith in Jesus Church. In today’s Gospel passage, we notice Jesus asking these two blind men a question: “Do you believe that I am able to this?” This is a very important question. The man in the above story probably never expected and never believed he could be healed each time he took Holy Communion. However, in that crusade environment, the man summoned the courage to believe.
The problem we often face among Christians today is that rather than believe in Jesus Christ, we place our faith in persons who stand in the place of Jesus. Our society has deified God’s ministers so much so that they just can’t take it when any minister does something or behaves in a manner that obviously reveals their mere humanity. It is even more worrisome when Christians begin to make a distinction between God’s ministers labelling them as “powerful” or “not-so- powerful” as if to say it is the minister himself or herself who does the healing. God’s healing is always available to those who believe in God regardless of the minister (instrument) involved.
In emphasizing the minister, we actually blow up his or ego beyond proportion thereby creating room for certain unacceptable utterances and behaviours on the part of the minister. Regardless of where we go in search of healing who prays for us, let us always remember that it is our Faith in Jesus Christ that brought about the healing. And Jesus alone deserves our praise, honour and glory. In the story above, it is not the church that healed the sick man, it wasn’t simply because there was power there (after all, thousands of people were also in need of healing only to go home disappointed), it was Jesus Christ who felt it was time for the man’s faith to be rewarded.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my faith in you always so as to receive healing from you. Amen. St. Ambrose, pray for us.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of the First week of advent. Bible Study: Isaiah 29:17-24, Psalm 27:1-14 and Matthew 9:27-31).