Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s readings, we see the encounter that happened between mankind and God, between sinners and their Creator Who loved them, and Who desired to save them and bring them from the slavery of sin into the liberty and freedom that He wants to bring to them, and we see how we are also part of this great works of the Lord to bring salvation to all mankind.
God does not abandon us to die or to be destroyed, even though our sins and wickedness can indeed be very great. Many of us, just like the people of Israel whom God Himself had saved from their enslavement in Egypt, had been rebellious, disobedient and unwilling to listen or to commit ourselves to the ways of our Lord. And thus, as a result, our sins grew and we grew more distant from our Lord.
The Scripture readings today from the Book of Deuteronomy spoke of the uncertainty, the doubt and the lack of faith in the hearts of the people of God, who questioned His love and dedication for them, and who refused to see the light and refused to accept and understand that God had given them so much, so many things and blessings, and yet they were still not satisfied.
God gave them freedom from the scourge and yoke of slavery, lifting up from them the yoke and chains of the Pharaohs, that they would no longer suffer in the lands of Egypt, and that they would no longer toil in harsh labour, but be freed and He led them to the lands which He Himself had promised to their ancestors, and which promise He also renewed with them Himself, as He renewed the covenant He had with them.
And He destroyed their enemies and pursuers, their oppressors and all things wicked before them. He crushed the Pharaoh and his chariots, drowning them in the Red Sea, and He destroyed the Amalekites and the other enemies of the people of God, giving them victory and triumph. He guided them through the desert for many long years, leading them on the way and providing for them with none other than the food from heaven.
He blessed them with the manna, the bread of the Angels, and gave them many large birds and other foods to eat in the midst of the lifeless desert. He gave them clear and sweet spring water from the rocks in the middle of a very dry and parched desert, that all of them would have their fill and be satisfied. They all had what they needed, and no one lacked anything.
But they were not content and neither were they satisfied. They grumbled and complained against God for having brought them into the desert while they could have enjoyed a ‘better’ life in Egypt even though they would be enslaved. They rebelled against God, because they had no true love or commitment for their Lord, and their stomachs and hearts’ desires got the better of them.
How is this relevant to us, brethren? It is just as we ourselves also prefer sin to doing the will of God. We refuse to listen to God and do what He has asked us to do. Instead, we preferred to walk on our own path, because we see them as better, more enticing and less troublesome or risky. But this is all because it was the intention of the devil and all of his wicked forces, trying to lure us all into damnation by tempting us to do all those vile things.
And yet, even though we often failed to follow His will and even though we have committed so much wickedness throughout our lives, not listening to God and His words, but the love which He had for us was truly very great indeed, for He still offered us His salvation, His mercy and His love despite the fact that we were still sinners. St. Paul pointed out this fact for us, so that we may realise this and come to sincere and genuine repentance.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this season of Lent, we have all been called to cease our rebelliousness and to cast aside our pride, our hubris, greed and desire, all of which had led us deeper and deeper into disobedience and sin against the Lord our God. This is the perfect time to begin our lives anew, to turn our backs against the past, that is our past sins and vile deeds.
All of us have been called to the mercy and forgiveness of God, and God had made it clear that those who are willing to repent shall be accepted and received in God’s eternal kingdom. But we first have to learn to restrain ourselves and to die to our pride and hubris, our greed and desires, and this is why we fast and abstain during this period of Lent. Thus, when we fast and abstain, let us all do them with proper understanding of their purpose, so that they may benefit us ever more for our salvation.
Let us all recommit ourselves anew to the Lord, that by our words, deeds and actions, we may show Him and the world all the same, that we are willing to live in accordance to our faith, and no longer adhering or being corrupted by this world’s desires and sins, but instead are committed to be good disciples and followers of our Lord from now on.
May Almighty God guide our paths, and may He strengthen the resolve in our hearts, so that we may strive always to live faithfully in accordance with His will and thus be worthy of the salvation and eternal life which He had promised us all. God bless us all. Amen.