From Father Andrew Bahhi: Show Compassion for Those Who Need it Most for Lent
This very spiritual journey of the Holy Lent—if we live it with a pure heart, can have a blessing in our personal and family life. When Jesus fasted, he was training us. This is a lesson for us – when we fast, we have to read the Bible, and receive the peace that we need in our life.
In the beginning of each Sunday Liturgy, we give “peace” with our hands. If we are mad with someone, we have to instead have peace with each other.
In our Liturgy book, page 24, we are all participating together. This is what we should say to each other when we give peace with our hands, “The peace of our Lord and our God,” says one, while the other responds, “May He be with us and among us.” I encourage you to memorize this.
This is a peace process between heaven and the earth, and we share it together. During Liturgy, the deacon takes peace from the altar, which is derived from heaven, and he shares it with you.
Today is the second Sunday of the Lent. And we see how our Father prepared from the readings, and step by step we can get close to the Holy Week and learn about the death and resurrection of Christ.
This is also the Sunday cleaning of the Leprosy. As the Bible says, there was a man suffering from Leprosy, which is a dangerous and contagious disease. When I served in the church in Egypt, I met a nun serving people with these diseases. They built a small village for lepers many miles away from everyone else, and it was like a big jail because these people could not leave. Food was thrown to them. And slowly these people lost their body parts before they died.
But more than physical death, there was the emotional death they suffered while alive, knowing they are separated from the world.
At the time of Jesus, leprosy was a sign of a curse. People with the diseases were viewed as big sinners.
In the Bible, we read how this man knelt down to Jesus, and said “Lord, please if you will.” It reminds me of how people we know may feel they are not loved. And then the Bible said something very important:
“Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said, ‘be clean.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matthew 8:3)
How beautiful are these words and actions.
Do you think this man needed physical and emotional healing? Yes, but this man finally felt part of the community because he was touched and loved. Imagine how much this man was really loved.
This is what Jesus wants to tell all of us. “I love you no matter how big your sin has been. I will touch you, love you, and clean you.”
Jesus is telling us more than the importance of financial health, we need to offer love and hope and share peace with one another. It is not enough to give money to the poor. We need to tell people “I love you.”
This is the real meaning of the Lent. This is the meaning of fasting. This means going to people who need it and say “I love you. Jesus loves you.” This means more than just wear fancy clothes and drive fancy cars and give money to the Sunday collection. It means to break your bread with those who need it.
Jesus had compassion and mercy for those who need it most. Jesus touched him.
Jesus is next to you, no matter who you are. Don’t think your sin is too big. God’s mercy is much bigger.
Be touched with mercy and real peace and real joy.
Psalm 51, David asks “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”
Pray with me:
I thank you Lord
You have created in me a clean heart
I, Lord, made this heart not clean
Please I ask you now Lord to renew my spirit
And to renew my heart
And to clean my heart
Do not cast me away from your presence
And do not take your Holy Spirit from me
In Jesus’s name. Amen
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