The second day of SCIC Feast celebrations continued with Fr Mark Michael presiding at Mass. In his homily, Fr Mark preached about the gravity of sin and being conscious of the sins we commit.
In these current times, there is no sense of sin among the people. We have become numb to sin. St Matthew tells us that the more we become conscious of our sin, it is a sign that we are drawing closer to God. Conversely, the further we are from God, the more blinded we are to our sins.
In the day’s Gospel (Matthew 9:9-13), we saw tax collectors and sinners drawing close to Jesus to learn more about Him. Today, many of us have stopped learning about God. Receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation is seen as a graduation from learning about God. When we stop learning, we stop living. The pharisees may have been near Jesus physically, but were lost because they were not willing to listen to Jesus’ teachings. They were therefore blinded to their own sinfulness.
All the Saints were conscious of their sins. Sin paralyses us, but when we bring it to God, we are making an effort to free ourselves from it. We have been given a beautiful gift in the Sacrament of Confession to free ourselves from the bondage of sin and restore our friendship with God. We must open our souls before God in Confession instead of merely confessing trivial ‘sins’ such as eating meat on Fridays.
Likewise, every Sacrament of the Church is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus. It is an opportunity for us to meet and experience Him. However, if we do not do the ground work to prepare ourselves and do not enter into it with the right intention, we will not be able to encounter God.
Reading the Word of God is one way to grow in our relationship with God and hence be more aware of our sinfulness. “Every day, when you read the Word of God and you don’t understand something, talk to God about it,” said Fr Mark. “Help me, God. I don’t understand. What are you saying, Lord. Teach me’’ We will begin to see how a personal relationship with God is forming. This is the type of prayer that helps us to start taking charge of our lives by making a relationship with God a priority. God speaks to his people 24/7. We miss it because we are busy doing one thing after another. We have to tune in to God to receive His wisdom.
We pray that we will learn to be conscious of our sins. Not to become paranoid of every tiny sin and fear God’s wrath, but to be aware of them so that we can change out of love for God. When our mindsets change, we will discover the treasures of the kingdom of heaven.
On the Dignity of Work and Workers
When our relationship with God is correct, our work becomes beautiful and the environment is in harmony. Today, the right work attitudes and ethics are lacking. People prefer to look for the easy way out and resist hard work. The Church, however, teaches that we must work hard and truthfully, and our reward will be granted.
At the end of Mass, Frs Mark and Dom gave a special blessing for all workers, those who work within the home as well as outside.
A Martyrs Corner has been set up at the back of the church. All are invited to pray and write their petitions. There are also scripture verses written on little note papers for everyone to take. Fr Dom encouraged everyone to not only read the verse they pick out, but to also make efforts to put it into practice.