Wednesday, 9 March 2016 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Frances of Rome, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 49 : 8-15

This is what YHVH says : “At a favourable time I have answered you, on the day of salvation I have been your help; I have formed you and made you to be My covenant with the people. You will restore the land, and allot its abandoned farms. You will say to the captives : Come out; and to those in darkness : Show yourselves.”

They will feed along the road; they will find pasture on barren hills. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the scorching wind or the sun beat upon them; for He Who has mercy on them will guide them and lead them to springs of water. I will turn all My mountains into roads and raise up My highways. See, they come from afar, some from the north and west, others from the land of Sinim.”

“Sing, o heavens, and rejoice, o earth; break forth into song, o mountains; for YHVH has comforted His people and taken pity on those who are afflicted. But Zion said : “YHVH has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a woman forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child of her womb? Yet though she forget, I will never forget you.”

Tuesday, 8 March 2016 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. John of God, Religious (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we heard about God Who brought upon healing on His people, by His love and mercy through which He blessed the sick and those who were with illness, making them whole and healthy once again. God had mercy on them and wanted to bring them to healing and succour, and to remove from them their suffering.

But in order to do so, we ourselves must come to accept God’s offer of love and mercy. We must open ourselves to the outpouring of God’s care and concern for us. After all, if He had come down Himself from heaven, and if He had been willing to sacrifice Himself for our sake, for our liberation and redemption, then we too should show our gratitude and thanks, and devote ourselves to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God will not abandon us to the darkness and to destruction unless we ourselves desire that destruction, either because we refuse to accept His love and mercy, or if we are stubborn in our insistence to follow our own path and desires, in doing what the world wants from us. Satan, the evil one is trying his best to pull us all away from salvation because through his temptations of the world, he tempts us with many things that may prevent us from following our true path to God.

Sin is the chain that keeps us bound into this world, and prevented us from achieving true liberation in God. Sin is the disease and corruption that is eating at our hearts, our minds and our souls, corrupting us from the inside and turning us into wicked beings. And with the sin we have in us, we have been made unworthy to stand before the presence of God and to be with Him.

Why is this so, brethren? That is because while God loves us all perfectly and greatly, but sin has no place before Him, as He is pure good and perfect. And sin is something that is abominable to God, because it was born from disobedience and rebellion against Him. If we want to have a share in His glory, then we have to endeavour to leave behind our sinful ways and abandon all of those wickedness in favour of righteousness.

This means that, as Christians, all of us should be using our time, and especially during this season of Lent to rectify our ways and to repent from all of our sins. This is the best and perfect time for us to be renewed in all our dealings and in all our ways, and this is the moment for us to look for a new opportunity at redemption and forgiveness of sins, the time for us to reflect on our own lives, and if we have strayed from the path towards salvation, this is the time for us to turn back.

In this season of Lent, we are all called to the presence of God, to be humble and to be sorrowful over our sins and past wickedness. We are all called to commit ourselves anew to the Lord, and to show that faith through our own concrete actions and dedications, through which we are to bring ourselves into God’s loving hands, and to be forgiven from our countless trespasses.

Today, we celebrate the feast day of St. John of God, a faithful religious and preacher, a great and dedicated servant of God, who committed his whole life in the service of God and the Gospel, and the spreading of the Good News of the Gospel to the whole world. St. John of God is truly a role model to all of us the faithful, to follow as we make our progress on the path towards salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, St. John of God was renowned through his extensive service to the poor, the sick and the dying as part of the Knights Hospitallers, what we now know as the Military Order of Malta. He has devoted himself, his whole life and his efforts to serve the least and the last of the society, helping them to get by, and by showing his care and compassion for them, he showed the love of God to mankind.

Many people were inspired by his examples, and rightly, all of us should be inspired by those same examples as well. We should also lead the same exemplary life as those holy men and women had done. They too were once sinners, but what is important is that, they turned away from their sins, and found the path towards the glory of eternal life.

May God help us on our path, and may He bless us in all of our endeavours, so that in everything that we do, we may draw ever closer to the Lord and to His salvation. God bless us all. Amen.