Thursday, 17 March 2016 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Patrick, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all reminded today of the covenant which God had established first with Abraham, His faithful servant, a renewal of the covenant which He had established with mankind, and yet which they had broken when they first sinned before the Lord. Sin had broken the covenant of God with men, but God Who loves us all mankind, wanted to renew that covenant with even greater love.

When God created us mankind with love, He wanted us all to live in bliss and perfect harmony with Him in heaven, in the Gardens of Eden, to enjoy forever the company of His grace and love forevermore without end. All that He asked for, is for us all to obey Him and to love Him back just as He had loved us first. That is what is meant by a covenant, namely a two-way contract between two parties. Both parties and sides of the covenant or the agreement must obey the rules and the responsibilities attached to the covenant or else, it would no longer be in force.

Thus, what happened was that mankind was tempted by Satan, the old enemy, the evil deceiver and the rebel who was jealous against God and mankind alike, and thus decided to ruin the ones whom God had loved the most out of all creation. His intention was to ruin us just in the same way as he had been ruined by his pride and rebellion, and thus just as he was cast out of heaven, mankind too would follow him into eternal damnation. That is the sinister design that the evil one is planning for us too.

By breaking our part of the covenant, we have deemed ourselves unworthy of God’s love and grace, and thus we were cast out of Eden, and we were made to suffer the painful suffering in the world, enduring tribulations and challenges, as our immortality became one of mortality, and death would come to devour us and destroy us forever, except that, God Himself still loved us despite all of the things we had done.

And that is why, even though the covenant that God had established with Abraham had been broken many times, and always by men, for God is always forever faithful to His covenant with us, He continued to renew it and reestablish it, giving encouragement to all those who hope in Him and put their trust in Him. He shall not disappoint all those who had given themselves to His cause, for these are the ones who would inherit the covenant of God.

And thus lastly, He sent us all His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Divine Word of God, equal and inseparable part of the triune unity of our Lord, the One and only God, One in existence, but Three in Godhead and nature, Father, Son and Holy Spirit all working together as one in the attempt to reestablish a perfect and everlasting covenant once and for all, for our sake.

Indeed, to seal that everlasting covenant, and to make clear the great and infinite love which He has for all of us, He sealed His covenant not with the mere blood of animals, goats, bulls or birds, but with His own Most Precious Blood, poured down in great suffering from the cross, as our Lord Himself was made to bear the burden of everyone’s sins, and through His suffering and death, He had made everyone clean and justified, and all those who believe in Him shall receive the fullness of God’s mercy, forgiveness and love.

That is the great extent how much our Lord is willing to give of Himself when we are in need for help. As that is because, if we are to be lost to the darkness of this world, to our wickedness and all the things coming between us and God, then we are lost to God our loving Father forever. And just as fathers love their children, He loves us all too, without exception, and He wants us to be thoroughly changed for the better.

And in this season of Lent, in the remaining time we have this week and next week, let us all realise that we have so many homework to do, for us all to learn from our mistakes, learning to forgive and to be better and more devoted disciples of our Lord. There is the time for us to turn back from our sinfulness and to find our way to the truth of God and walk in His light.

And today, we celebrate the great feast day of St. Patrick of Ireland, a great bishop and missionary, whose life was dedicated to the spreading of the Gospel and the Good News of God. There are many things that we can learn from his life and from his teachings. St. Patrick was sent by the Pope to the distant country which is now known as Ireland, to bring the salvation of God to the pagan peoples living there, who have not yet heard the Word of God.

St. Patrick travelled around the island of Ireland, visiting from places to places, working with people from the kings, the nobles and to the common people. He did not have it easy, as the people ridiculed him, rejected him and even persecuted him for his efforts. But he did not give up, and he taught the people there about the faith, until eventually many of them repented from their sins and converted to the faith in God.

In one of the most famous thing attributed to him, he used the three-leaf clover as the method for him to teach about God, and explaining the difficult nature of God, just as we have discussed earlier on, God as One, but yet Three, Three and yet only One. Yes, St. Patrick used the analogy how the three-leaf clover, once a portion is taken away is no longer a clover, and yet still three leafed as it is, it constitutes only just one leaf, indivisible and yet with distinct parts.

From this, we can gain so much inspiration of what we can do. There are so many things we can do in this world, to walk in the light in the path of St. Patrick of Ireland. We should use this opportunity we have in life, not just to turn away from our sins, but also to spread the Good News of God, and help one another to reach out to the Lord our God. May we all find our path to the Lord and be brought into the life everlasting. St. Patrick of Ireland, pray for us, that we may find our path to God and remain faithful to Him. Amen.

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