Sexagesima Sunday is the second of the pre-Lenten Sundays or “Gesimatide,” which we started last Sunday. As mentioned last week, it is derived from the Latin word for sixtieth and refers to sixtieth day to Easter, though it actually falls on the fifty-sixth day. It is the second Sunday before Lent and the eight Sunday before Easter.
The three Sundays before Lent, Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima constitute a time of preparation, and the Scripture lessons appointed for these Sundays have the purpose of preparing our minds and hearts for the spiritual undertaking, which lies before us in the season of Lent – our spiritual pilgrimage, our spiritual journey with Jesus to Jerusalem.
In the Church of Nigeria’s Lectionary provisions for the Sexagesima Sunday, we are prepared for the healing, which necessarily follows seeking the face of God in humility and repentance (2Chron. 7:14). God describes Himself in the Bible as the Lord that heals (Jehovah Rapha, Exod. 15:26). This is a clear way of associating Himself with healing or relating healing to whom He is and what He does. It reveals God’s disposition to healing. Certain points as related to the healing of God in the Collect need to be noted:
• Jesus healed the sick and restored them to wholeness of life.
• The world is presently in anguish and miserably sick.
• God can heal the world, which includes both men and nations.
Healing was a significant aspect of the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles. There are as many as twenty-one personal healing miracles in the Gospels. They not only confirm the message, but also show us that we too can be healed. The healings in the Bible reveal the heart of God or His passion. God has not changed and He still acts in love in healing.
Paul taught that the Holy Spirit invests some believers with the gift of healing. (1 Cor. 12:8). Reading the Book of Acts makes it clear that early believers saw people being healed and expected healing, when they asked for it. And from church history, we see that the belief that God answered prayers for healing was taken for granted. We can ask for healing and expect a positive outcome.
Any anomaly is sickness and restoration to normalcy is healing. Sickness is not only in body. There are different conditions and attitudes of men, which can also be described as sickness. Nations and societies can also be sick, as ours, obviously is. But God can heal all manner of sickness and we need the healing from Him. We need to go to Him in prayer with humility, repentance and faith.
Bible Readings for Day: All the Bible passages for the day are on healing from God.Holy Communion Service – 2Kgs 5:1-14; Jas 5:13-16a; Mk 2:1-12 – The Old Testament passage is the story of the healing of Naaman. The Epistle is James’ prescription on how to receive spiritual healing; and the Gospel is the record of the Lord’s healing of a paralytic.
The Matins – Num. 21:4-9; John 9: 1-end or 25 – The First Lesson shows God’s provision for the healing of His afflicted people and the Second Lesson tells of Jesus’ healing of a man born blind. The Venerable Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.