February 14, 2021 – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/021421.cfm)
Usually, we say these words of greeting to express our concern for the health and wellbeing of others, and in recognition that all of us are & can be subject to hurts, pains, and sicknesses in life. Even the healthiest of us live with fear of accidents and diseases, which can suddenly place us on the sidelines. Nobody likes to get sick. But nobody can claim that they have never been sick in life before. Sickness cannot be denied. To get & be sick is part of our human nature. Normal for us then to ask about the health and wellbeing of others whom we have not seen for a while, and meet once again.
But what does it mean to be sick? Experience teaches us that to be sick is more than just an experience of physical illness but a wide range of emotional, mental, psychological, and spiritual diseases. Whenever we get sick, we become incapacitated and limited. We feel dependent, depressed, irritable, helpless and sometimes isolated and alienated from others, and even feel abandoned by God. We know that it is difficult to get sick, especially when we are used to live our life independently and always in-control. Sickness is indeed a dreadful experience, as what was also described in our readings today.
In our gospel today, we may realize that our life-experiences of sickness, though dreadful and difficult, could also be opportunities and another chance for growth and life.
First, sickness can be the opportunity to be converted. The leper came to Jesus. Coming to Jesus is an experience of conversion – instead of turning away from, it is a turning back and toward Jesus. Whenever we get sick, we usually cease from our usual routine, go home, and take a rest. It is in sickness that we need to have a break and be with ourselves & with our God in Jesus, as our Psalm would say: In time of trouble, I turn to you, Lord.”
Sickness can also be the opportunity to have faith and trust in God and others. The leper begged to Jesus, “If you will, you can make me clean”. It is not normal for us to be helpless and dependent on others. We rather be in-control and not needing others. But to be sick is humbling indeed for we really need to stop being independent and on your own, and have to trust on others’ love and care again. In sickness, we thus surrender ourselves and humbly ask for and rely on God’s mercy and providence through others. Amusingly: “Kon maayong lawas: Disco-disco; kon masakit, “Dios Ko-Dios Ko”. PagMalusog- Disco, PagMay-sakit: -Dios ko. In health: Disco, in sickness: My God”
Nevertheless, sickness can also be the opportunity to be cleansed and be healed. In sickness, we witness and experience God’s mercy, love, goodness, and miracles working in us – happening to us. That through our faith and Jesus’ concern for us, God’s power and love is made known to us and others. In our weakness and sickness, God through Jesus wills our healing & His power and glory is thus revealed in us.
Sickness can be opportunity to be reconciled – i.e. to makes things right- with others. Jesus asks the leper to show himself to the priest and offer himself to the Church. Through the sacrament of anointing and reconciliation, we offer ourselves back to God’s church and renew our promises before the Lord.
And lastly sickness can be an opportunity to proclaim our faith – to share our experience of sickness and healing. Just like the cured leper, our healing from sickness makes us express and share our faith to others.
To be sick then can be the opportunities for Christian conversion, faith, healing, reconciliation & mission.
In other words, getting and being sick can be all about “Second Chances” – another chance for God through others to love and take care of us again, and another chance for us to make things right and better for us & others again & anew.
In this Eucharist, may our hearts & love be with those who are sick and suffering any illnesses at this time in their homes & at the hospitals. During these pandemic times, may our prayers be also with Jesus who prays to our Father, “Take this cup of suffering away from me, However, not my will, but Your will be Done.”
So Help us God. So May it be. Amen.