Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, as we go on through the time and season of Lent, through the Scripture passages we heard today, we should know that by following the ways of the Lord, and by turning our backs against our sinful past, more often than not, we shall encounter difficulties, challenges and oppositions from all those who are in the world, and who obey the ways of this world.
The ways of this world are different and in opposition to the ways of our Lord, for this world is filled with wickedness, with prejudice, with hatred, with anger, with pride and arrogance, and with all the things that had led us mankind into sin. In our human greed we have caused suffering upon others from whom we covet for our worldly possessions and things. We have caused great sorrow and suffering because of the hatred and the lack of love between ourselves and our brethren.
But as Christians all of us are called by God to overcome all of these, and to convert ourselves to His ways, leaving behind all forms of hatred, of jealousy, of human greed and desire, and we have been called to be righteous and just as the Lord our God is righteous and just. When we do these, there will be those who are inspired by our examples and follow in our footsteps, but there will also be those who refuse to acknowledge our actions as good, and oppose us.
Let us remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that our Lord Jesus Himself made it clear to His disciples, that He came into this world bearing His truth and His salvation, which according to Him would bring about division and strive to arise within families and within communities, where people would be divided against each other because some would come to believe in God, while some others would take up the stand against God.
Many of us may not have realised this, especially if we have been born to the faith, and having good environment of growth, supported by a loving, Catholic and faith-filled community. Many of us may not have realised this if all the people around us have been supporting for us and for our faith, but the reality is that there are persecutions in this world, as it was in the past, as it is now, and as it will be in the years to come.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be aware of our brethren in many parts of the world who are still suffering the effects, even daily, of persecution against them because of their faith in God. Let us remember all of them in our prayers, and let us help them whenever we are able to do so. And we ourselves may also encounter challenges throughout our lives, be it in the form of persecution and rejection, as well as opposition and temptation to leave our faith behind.
How are we then going to resist those difficulties and manage those challenges? It is by using our time this Lent and henceforth, even beyond this season of Lent fruitfully and meaningfully. We must deepen our relationship with God, and make sure that we remain close to Him, obeying Him in all of His laws and precepts. We must strengthen our faith as well as our resolve to remain faithful to the Lord, so that we will be able to persevere when the time comes for us to be tested for our faith.
There will indeed be those times when we feel so miserable and desperate, when we are in the midst of great sufferings and persecutions, when we will want to give up and throw away our faith, because we may think that God is not with us, and that our resistance is useless. But remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, when Jesus our Lord suffered on the cross, He encountered the same issue, a normal human reaction, when pain and suffering comes our way.
But Christ remained faithful and true to His mission to the very end. He showed us the example of perfect obedience and adherence to the will of God, knowing that God our Father is always with us through everything. Jesus Himself, Who suffered on the cross for our sake is the ultimate proof of the love which God our Father has for each one of us, that He was willing to share our sufferings and our pains, our sorrows and our difficulties, as He suffered on the cross for our sake.
May the Lord strengthen our faith, and help us to deepen our relationship and our devotion to Him. May He empower us to become His faithful disciples and followers. May this season of Lent be fruitful for us, and become a time when we are able to become closer to God, and through which we are able to help one another, fellow brothers and sisters in the same Lord, on our way and journey towards God and His salvation. May God bless us all. Amen.