Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are reminded that in all that we do in this life, in all that we say, we must be humble and be righteous, and our faith in God must be genuine. All of us Christians are expected to have these virtues with them, so as to be truly devoted to God. Our actions, our hearts, and our entire being must be attuned to the Lord.
We are reminded that we should not be like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who preached in one way, but practiced what they preached differently from how they have preached. In other words, they have contradicted themselves and what they said by their actions which did not reflect the words that they have spoken. They were hypocrites who did not truly believe in God, and God warned His people, all of us against following their examples.
They have not been faithful and they misused the authority which God had entrusted to them, by misleading the people and by condemning those who had come to them seeking forgiveness that came from God. They glorified themselves and sought self-satisfaction, fame and human praise, and God rebuked them for all of their waywardness.
For all of their supposed piety, their long prayers and public shows of their faith, parading before the people their piety, they were not actually serving the purpose of the Lord, but instead cared only about themselves. God had no place in their hearts, for their ego had prevented them from doing what was truly righteous and just in the sight of God. This is what all of us need to take note of, lest we also fall to the same predicament.
Now the question should come to our minds, what is the meaning of being righteous? Is being righteous equivalent to doing what the Pharisees had done, such as saying long prayers, acting good and pious before others, doing external acts of penance and abstinence? Well, doing all these things are good and they are certainly not wrong. But to be excessively focused on them and ignoring the true meaning of our faith is not something that we should do.
What does this mean? It means that whatever we do, all the things we say and do, we must do because we love the Lord our God, and let all of our actions bring glory not to ourselves but to the Lord, for we have to realise that, despite all the achievements and the greatness we mankind may accumulate in this world, all the wealth and possessions we have, we are truly nothing without the Lord our God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this time and season of Lent, it is appropriate for us to spend some time to reflect on our actions, and how we spend our time during this season of penance and forgiveness. We know that we need to fast on certain days, namely on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and also abstain from red meat during the season and also on Fridays throughout the year, but are we doing them just because we were told to do so? Or is it because we are just going through the motions without understanding them?
It is time for us to reflect, and ask ourselves the important question, is God at the centre of our lives? Is He the reason why we live our lives in the way that we have lived them? Has He been the reason for our actions and deeds, which bring about true righteousness and justification? Or have we rather been driven by personal reasons and desires, or by ignorance and lack of understanding of our faith?
Let us all renew our commitment to the Lord this Lent, that by the time and opportunities which He had given to all of us, we may be able to draw closer to Him, and make our observances, of fasting, of abstinence, of penance, of almsgiving and all the other good and pious deeds we have carried out this season of Lent, may become more meaningful and fruitful for the sake of our justification and salvation.
May the Lord help us to live our lives more meaningfully, by making us more and more like Him in our ways, and through His dwelling in our hearts, may He transform us completely, in body, heart, mind and soul, in our whole being, to become truly His disciples, His beloved children, and those whom He had saved from the darkness of our past sins and wickedness. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.