The past few days, we talked about the healing of Jesus, of God’s desire to set us free. The First Reading tells us: this is the boldness we have in God, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him. Some have taken this to mean that we can ask anything from God and he will give it to us. But there is a condition: we need to ask according to his will. This is the problem we have today, that people want God to do what they want even if it is against his will. People have a tendency to disregard God and they also want him to do what they want or give them what they ask. When this happens in our relationship with God, then he becomes a slave and not Lord.
In the Gospel, John the Baptist was very clear he knew who he was in relation to Jesus. John the Baptist realizes: no one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. In our relationship with God, he is the Lord, and we are the slaves. So if I continue to reject God, then I live in sin. We have lost the idea of mortal sin, such that we often hear when people are caught in something grave, we excuse the person saying, he is a good person. Yet, the idea of mortal sin is only one sin is enough to cut us off God’s presence. Which is why it is called a mortal sin. We only need one bullet in our head to kill us. No matter how much we take care of our bodies, through exercise and diet, one mortal wound is enough to kill us.
This is why John tells us in the First Reading there is sin that is mortal. I do not say you should pray about that. The fact is, if I live in a state of mortal sin, God will not hear my prayers, because I have totally cut him from my life. And the only prayer God hears when I am in mortal sin is a sin of repentance. When I live in mortal sin, I am also living in hell while I am on earth. Since prayers for those in hell are not effective, prayers for the welfare of those living in mortal sin will not help. The only prayer for those in mortal sin is for their conversion, to have them repent.
The question to ask today then is this: do I want God to hear me? If my answer to that is yes, then I need to examine myself and see if I am living in sin or not. If I am, God is not bound to answer our prayer, and should he answer it, this will be because of his mercy alone. Today, we also celebrate the feast of the Black Nazarene in the Philippines. It is a day we remember the mercy of God, who sent his Son to suffer and die for us. This proves the love and mercy of God. God has made his move, the only response we can make is to repent of our sins, accept his forgiveness and surrender our lives to him.
Lord, I come to you, a sinner. Reveal to me the sin that hinders me from knowing you fully. If I am living in mortal sin, let me know and reveal this to me, so I can repent and turn my life to you. Help me Lord to submit to you. Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned. Lead me to your life.