Champwise

Everyone is Welcome, Nobody to be Excluded

Last week the world celebrated Valentine’s. Days leading into it, we were bombarded with advertisements pushing for the different commercial events scheduled to happen. All sorts of gifts are being peddled: musicals, concerts, flowers, teddy bears, chocolates, and everything. But is there something more than the world’s version of Valentine’s Day?

In the first reading, the Jews defined the lepers as unclean and must live away from everyone in the community. In the Gospel, we were told that Jesus freed a leper from sickness and made him clean.

In perspective, while being unclean, leprosy also symbolizes sinfulness, which by nature separates us from the love of God. Due to sin, we are excluded from being God’s children, from His table of grace. This means we lose the power accorded to us as His Sons and Daughters. We become weaker, more susceptible to further sickness, and easily succumbing to temptation.

As the Lenten season draws near, we are being called to renew our relationship with the Lord. We can do this by penance, works of mercy, and personal preparation for the renewal of our baptism during the Easter vigil.

Jesus is telling us that we are welcome into His banquet and that because of His great love for us, nobody is to be excluded. However, His love for us can only do so much. We have to act, reciprocate and show Him our love as well. For our love to be authentic and real, we have to endure challenges and trials. We have to learn how to sacrifice for the atonement of sins and for our development as well. In fact even before we could do that, our Lord has showed His own by dying on the cross to save us from sin. He showed us how great a Valentine He is!

We don’t need to be a genius to recognize God’s love for us happening in the events of our daily lives. We only need a pure heart, not a naïve and undiscerning mind, for us to understand how deeply Jesus loves us. Let this coming Lenten season therefore, be an opportunity for us to discern and reflect on the meaning of God’s love in our lives.

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