Thursday, 3 March 2016 : 3rd Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 11 : 14-23

At that time, one day Jesus was driving out a demon, which was mute. When the demon had been driven out, the mute person could speak, and the people were amazed. Yet some of them said, “He drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” Others wanted to put Him to the test, by asking Him for a heavenly sign.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.”

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God, has come upon you? As long as a man, strong and well armed, guards his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger man attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on, and disposes of his spoils.”

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters.”

Thursday, 3 March 2016 : 3rd Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 94 : 1-2, 6-7, 8-9

Come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful sound to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him giving thanks, with music and songs of praise.

Come and worship; let us bow down, kneel before the Lord, our Maker. He is our God, and we His people; the flock He leads and pastures. Would that today you heard His voice!

Do not be stubborn, as at Meribah, in the desert, on that day in Massah, when your ancestors challenged Me, and they put Me to the test.

Thursday, 3 March 2016 : 3rd Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Jeremiah 7 : 23-28

One thing I did command them : Listen to My voice and I will be your God and you will be My people. Walk in the way I command you and all will be well with you. But they did not listen and paid no attention; they followed the bad habits of their stubborn heart and turned away from Me.

From the time I brought their forebearers out of Egypt until this day I have continually sent them My servants, the prophets, but this stiff-necked people did not listen. They paid no attention and were worse than their forebearers.

You may say all these things to them but they will not listen; you will call them but they will not answer. This is a nation that did not obey YHVH and refused to be disciplined; truth has perished and is no longer heard from their lips.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016 : 3rd Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about God Who had given us all His laws and covenant, the commandments and guide on how we ought to live out our lives, in full alignment to His ways and in full and perfect obedience to His laws and ordinances. If we say that we are Christians, then indeed all of us have to be those who do the will of God with all of us heart’s zeal and strength.

In the Gospel today, Jesus challenged the teachers of the Law, the Pharisees and the elders of Israel for their aberration and their twisted following and observance of the Law of God. These people called themselves as pious and holy people, and they maintained that they have been obedient and observant of God’s laws and ordinances, by maintaining close observation and preservation of the laws according to Moses.

But they have not been obedient in the way that God wanted them to. They thought that Jesus tried to destroy and alter the laws that they had tried to protect for many years and generations, without knowing that whatever they attempted to protect had been twisted and turned away from the truth due to years of corruption by human interests and ego.

Yes, this means that instead of truly using the Law to seek out the Lord and to love Him more in all things, they have used the Law to oppress the people, to force upon them customs, observances and rituals that were done for the sake of doing them, and which did not help to bring God’s people closer to God. In all their attempts, they were only trying to satisfy their human needs, the need for praise and adulation for their ‘faith’ rather than true love for the Lord.

Our Lord Jesus showed them the errors of their ways, and thus, He was showing it to us all as well. It was not by showing off our faith, or by public display of prayers and piety that we can be saved, but it is through real and concrete dedication of ourselves, our efforts and our whole beings for the love and the commitment we can show to the Lord.

This means that we should do all things that God had asked us to do, His commandments and laws, because in the first place, we know that we are sinners, and we have been delinquents and rebels, stubborn people who had refused to listen to God in many occasions, and now, knowing that God is full of mercy to all those who are willing to turn from their evil ways and return to Him, then we want to make a difference in our own lives.

How to do so, brothers and sisters in Christ? In this season of Lent in particular, it is the perfect opportunity for us all to renew our faith and to restart our own lives on the path towards righteousness and salvation in God. We cannot call ourselves true Christians if we do not act and behave like one. Being Christians mean that we imitate our Lord Himself in all the things that He had done, and He had indeed shown all these through Jesus His Son, Who came into the world in order to save us.

And this means that we should show care and concern for the poor, for those who are less fortunate than us, either because they had less things than us, or having even little or none to eat and drink, and also those who were unloved and ostracised from the society, making sure that we ourselves do not participate in actions that bring about misery upon others for our own benefits.

Therefore, let us all pray, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we may become ever better and more faithful disciples of our Lord through real action, and may all of us in this season of Lent be completely and thoroughly converted to the Lord. Let us all turn our every effort, our every focus and attention to God and His ways, and let us sin no more, but do His will from now on with proper understanding, and with genuine love for Him and for our fellow brethren, God’s same children. Amen.