Monday, 13 March 2017 : 2nd Week of Lent, 4th Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Scripture readings we are all reminded both of our sinfulness and also of God’s mercy, which He extends to all of His beloved children. We have sinned before the Lord, disobeying His commandments and walked away from the path which He had shown us, in pursuit of our worldly glory and other things that kept us away from Him.

But God loves each and every one of us, so much that He was willing to forgive us and He wants to welcome us back into His presence, because He is indeed merciful and filled with compassion and pity for us. He will bless us and receive us back in grace, just as He had promised us through Jesus His Son, as we heard in our Gospel passage today.

Nevertheless, we have to remember the fact that, while God is merciful, and while He extends His mercy and love freely to all of His people, but whether His mercy works on us depends solely on whether we accept that mercy, and open the doors of our hearts to welcome God and allow Him to enter into our hearts and exercise His grace of mercy in us, transforming us from the sinners that we are into people of the light.

We have hardened our hearts against God, and we did not allow God to enter into our hearts. We shut Him out and drown ourselves in our many busy dealings and concerns of the world, that we were not even able to listen to Him speaking to us in the depths of our hearts, calling us to repent from our sins and to be reconciled with Him. This is the problem that many if not most of us are facing, and the reason why many people were still incapable of reaching God’s mercy and forgiveness.

We should look upon the example of the prophet Daniel, who in our first reading today was humbly petitioning God, exposing before Him the sins of all the people who have disobeyed His commandments and were wayward in their ways. He has admitted on behalf of the people, the sins which they had committed, which brought a great shame to them, unworthy to even call God their Lord and Master.

It is this kind of humility and acceptance of one’s own sinfulness that allows God to exercise His forgiveness and mercy among us. Many of us do not only harden our hearts in pride before the Lord, but we also deny our sins, thinking that we could not have done wrong in our lives, or that we are thinking that those sins were inconsequential. We were wrong if we think in that manner, brothers and sisters, for sin, even the smallest among all forms of sin, are abhorred by God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this season of Lent, as we continue to progress through this special time for repentance and forgiveness, let us all reflect deeply into our lives. Let us all commit ourselves anew to the Lord our God, promising Him that we will no longer sin as we had done before, but instead willingly embrace His love and mercy, opening the doors of our hearts to welcome Him.

Let us work conscientiously to restrain ourselves, our pride, our desire and all the temptations to sin which had led us astray. Let us use this time and opportunity that God had granted to us in order to work towards our redemption and salvation in God. It is time for us to turn our back against our old ways of sin, and to begin anew in faith in the Lord. This is what we must do, so that we will be worthy of God’s forgiveness, so that while we are sinners, but God will absolve from us our sins, and transform us into righteous people in His presence.

May the Lord bless us all and help us to go through this season of Lent filled with joy knowing that we have the hope of forgiveness and everlasting life by what He had promised us all who remain true and faithful to Him. Let us humbly seek Him with repentance and regret for all of our past transgressions and sins. May God forgive us all our sins and bring us to the glory of the everlasting life. Amen.

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