Friday, 10 March 2017 : 1st Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are all reminded by the passages from the Sacred Scriptures that while righteous and good deeds bring about justification and salvation in God, wickedness and evil deeds, sins in whatever forms they are, bring about destruction and condemnation for even the smallest of sins has no place in the presence of our God.

This is particularly fitting considering that this season of Lent that we are going through now is a season of repentance, of forgiveness for our sins, and of a renewal of hearts and minds. It is a time for us to reevaluate our lives, our actions, words and deeds. It is a time for us to ask ourselves, have we been justified in our actions, and have we been worthy through all of our deeds? Or have we instead done what is abhorrent and wicked in the presence of God?

All of these are reminders for us, as we live through our lives, lest that we forget and fall astray into sin and darkness. It is very easy for us to fall into temptations to sin, and as a result, fall into sin and become corrupted in heart, mind and soul. In the first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, we are reminded that even the righteous ones can fall into sin, and by the corruption of their sins, they will be judged.

This is an important reminder that we all need to be constantly be vigilant against the lures of sin, and we cannot be complacent in our faith and in our lives. It does not mean that if we have become Christians, then we are safe and certain in our struggle against sin. Sin can come back and afflict us at any time whenever we are unprepared and lacking in vigilance.

That is precisely why we practice fasting and abstinence during this season of Lent. Through fasting and abstinence, we restrain ourselves, our desires and the desires of our flesh, the vulnerabilities of our hearts and minds, so that we may resist the temptation to sin and to do whatever is not right in the sight of God and men alike. We do not fast and abstain to be seen and to be praised by others around us. On the other hand, we fast and abstain because we want to free ourselves from the lures of the sins that are surrounding us.

Discipline is very important in our lives and in our faith. We must have that rigour and commitment in doing what is right and just in the sight of God. It is normal for us to endure temptations and the pull to do what are contrary to the ways of the Lord, but if we try our best and resist, we will certainly be able to remain truly good and righteous despite all the forces of those who are arrayed against us.

On the other hand, we are also reminded that God is ever full of mercy, compassion, love and forgiveness. He will not abandon His beloved people to the darkness, and He will not let sinners to perish without ever having the hope of reconciliation and reunion with Him. That is why in the same passage from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, God also gives hope to all those who have sinned, which is truly all of us mankind, that if only we turn away from our sins, we will be saved.

In this season of Lent, all of us sinners are called to repentance and redemption in God. All of us are called to turn our back to sin, to all the things which we have committed, all the wicked actions and deeds we have done. We are all called to do penance before God and men alike, doing deeds and actions that are good, as a penance for all of our sins, and as a sign that we have truly regretted our sins and genuinely desiring forgiveness from God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all during this time and opportunity given to us by God, turn towards Him and commit ourselves anew to Him. Let us no longer sin and resist the temptation to sin. Let us throw away our pride, our arrogance, our selfishness and all the things that have separated us from God. Let us help one another to persevere in our journey, so that all of us will remain to be true to our faith in God, and we remain worthy of Him to the end of it all, when God will glorify all those who have kept their faith in Him.

May God bless us all and be with us in our daily lives, and may all of us through this holy and penitential season of Lent find a renewal in our faith. Let us draw closer to God, and let us always walk in His ways, holy and blessed, all the days of our lives. Amen.

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