by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 13:10-17
In the first verse of today's reading it is said that our Lord was teaching in the Synagogue. Before going ahead in reading, let us think what He must have been teaching. Without much effort, we all could say that our Lord was teaching about the Kingdom of God and the ways to attain it. The crowd before Lord Jesus must have heard him teaching the same for so many times. We have crossed the mid lent and till date from the very beginning of the Lenten season, we listen the exhortations of the Holy Church to avoid the vices of the mind along with fasting and praying. We are also not better than the crowd who were following our Lord from one place to the other to listen Him. On this particular day there was only one person who was bowed. If one is bowed he or she cannot see the person who speaks, but could listen whatever is spoken. When we all are fasting and observing the Lent, we all are bowed. We could not see our Lord, though we could listen the voices of our Lord, His blessed Apostles, as well as our Church Fathers, through the recitation of the prayers. But often we do not take them serious. We also observe the lent one after the other as a routine matter, as the people at the time of Lord moved from one place to the other. We must long to see the face of our Lord. If we could see Him we could see the Apostles, other saints and the departed ones also in Him.
Verse 11 says, "There was a woman, who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself." When our Lord saw her, He called her to him and said you are loosed from your infirmity. You all and I must long for such a call from our Lord and His compassionate action of loosing our infirmities. If we would not give priority for such a need and allow us to flow in the water as the floating objects, we will not reach any one of the shores. During the Lenten season let us submit ourselves to our Lord and God and allow Him to touch us and heal us. In verse 13 we read, "And He laid his hand on her and immediately she was made straight and glorified God". In our personal lives how many times He has touched us and made us straight? Do we have any sense about such an experience? Again and again were we not throwing ourselves to the greedy hands of our arch rival Satan and the evil forces? If we want to free us from the grips of the evil forces, let us cry aloud with tears and our tears will be accepted by our Lord God. Let us repent well and allow the tears to flow from our eyelids. Let give heed to the Psalmist who asks "who will forgive all your iniquities who heals all your diseases". (Psalms 103:3) This doesn't mean that the Psalmist was unaware of the healer and forgiver. In the first verse of the same Psalm, it is said "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name."
Let us look at the Golgotha, the wooden cross kept in the centre of the Church on the mid Lent day. Let us see our Lord and Savior, who died on the cross. Let us look at His kind and merciful face and gain mercy and compassion. When we enter our Church, let us go near to this cross first, kiss the garment as a sign of our adoration and respect to our Savior. Hope everyone knows about the brazen serpent raised by Moses in the midst of the tents when many were killed due to the bite of the poisonous wipers. Moses raised the brazen serpent in the middle of the tents (always the Israelites used to erect their tents in a circular shape, leaving the central portion for their general assembly, prayer etc) It was the shadow of the cross on which our Lord was crucified. It is believed that our Lord's cross was erected in the exact centre of the earth. By keeping all these facts in mind our Church Fathers insist us to keep the cross (Golgotha) in the centre of the Church, on the exact middle of the Lent.
When we see the cross, we must see our Lord and savior who made use of it for our salvation. We must teach our youngsters about the cross and the reasons for honoring it. Let us make it clear that we do not worship the cross, but we worship the one who died for us on the cross. Let us try to see him and get forgiveness for our sins.
May God bless us.
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