Adrian Dominican Sisters General Chapter 2022, Day 4 Preaching by Sister M. Ruby Lumanlan, OP Thursday, June 30, 2022 Matthew 9:1-8 Every day we hope to announce the Good News, the good news of grace and faith that works in us because of Jehovah Rapha – the Lord who heals. Just to make a “throwback,” two years ago COVID-19 had been declared as global pandemic and up until now had taken control our lives and hopes. The crisis was urgent and we felt worried and powerless. As a Congregation we were not spared. We became vulnerable but open to the promptings of the Spirit. Our prayers, relationships, and the technology within our midst were the first point of actions – our refuge. To the entire General Chapter Planning Committee, congratulations for your leadership, which brings us to this critical time in the Congregation’s Chapters of Affairs and Elections. With their planning and preparation, we are called to take the transformative change that will lead us into the future. We know that the General Chapter was postponed but not totally hindered, because we turn our obstacles into opportunities and our problems into possibilities. We assemble in gratitude, we the 125 delegates. Everything happened for a reason: we wait on God and trust in Him in setting our Congregational direction and leadership. In today’s Gospel, Jesus gradually reveals His authority over everything. He is a merciful God who has the power to forgive and a great healer who is willing to make us well again in all our situations. We see the glory of Christ’s forgiving grace clearly when we understand what is it that sin does to us, and what it is to have it taken away and be forgiven. The paralyzed man and his friends are hopeful, they anticipate, they expect, they look forward to something; Jesus has plans for them and even gave them goals to fulfill, to have a sense of confidence and assurance. We are like the Christ candle: When the spiral is burned out and the center wick is lighted, we get to the core that will take us into the future – we are transformed. The paralytic represents the universal need for God’s forgiveness. We need to allow divine forgiveness to flow through us. In the Awakening Circles, we centered our hearts and made contemplative conversation. We learned to become good stewards to take care of Earth, our common home. We learned to be more sensitive, to deepen our relationships to all creation and to be risk takers when challenges abound. When Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take heart, stand up, go home!” He allowed forgiveness to heal us, to allow contact with Him, to restore our sanity, and to know that everywhere on the Earth is our home because He is an omnipotent God. He frees us from what binds us, He gives us wholeness and puts us back into a right relationship with Him and with humanity. During sessions, I was glad whenever Facilitator Donna Fyffe asked us to confirm our vote by raising our right hand and using one of the three cue cards: green (yes), red (no), and yellow (abstain) whenever we made changes, reviewed and affirmed our Constitution and Statutes, and approved our Election Plan and Enactments. After critical and impassioned deliberations, we came up with a successful result. As a majority voted, we interpreted that it passed the quality test. When we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God of deliverance is able to save and rescue us. Jesus rewards every single effort that we make to come to His presence. Remember, He is inclusive and just. The Gospel gives great coverage to the characters: The Paralytic , who was the sick person carried by his friends from the housetop down to Jesus, just to be healed. The Friends of the Paralytic who became the point of contact for the Paralytic to be healed. The Spiritual Leaders who do not believe in Him, who even said that He is blaspheming when He declared forgiveness to the Paralytic. They are those who do not have faith in Him, who always preferred reasoning rather than believing. The Crowd who glorified Him when they witnessed His healing power. At this time, do you consider your faith as evidence that you believe? As you imagine being in the crowd, are you a believer or are you there to test Jesus? Do you believe? Do you really believe in Him? In this Gospel there are no throw-away miracles, nor throw-away cultures. If we believe in His work He always has a key teaching for us to learn and be renewed. Jesus’ authority is full of mercy and compassion. His judgments are true. Indeed, His messages and words are loaded with awakening, healing, and openness to finding ways to right direction. As we elect our Congregational leaders, we encounter the question, "Do the type of leaders we will choose carry the leadership of Christ?" Jesus is the most effective leader of all time because He led His team to become servant leaders. He unifies, He envisions, He inspires, He empowers, He thinks creatively, and He strives for perfection. As we continue to thread the path of our Dominican Life into the future, we continue to shift our awareness and consciousness by experiencing all that is holy, and by experiencing all as one. On this awakening journey, it doesn’t matter how many times we fall down to reach our dreams. What matters is how many times we get up for the greater glory of God, always choosing to be faithful to our calling.