Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the Book of Exodus, of the well known event when God was very angry against His people, the Israelites, because they have sinned against Him and disobeyed Him in the worst way possible. They carved for themselves a golden calf and chose this golden calf, the creation of the hands of man, to be their god and worshipped it.
Let us understand why God was very angry against the Israelites. Remember that God had just rescued all of His people from the hands of the Egyptians and the Pharaoh by His mighty deeds, the ten plagues that He had brought upon these people who enslaved His beloved ones. He did so many good things for them, opened the sea before them and allowed them to escape from the pursuit of their enemies and oppressors.
He fed them with manna, the bread from heaven and also with clear and sweet water, providing them with all that they needed. He made their enemies to run away in fear away from them, defeating all those who sought for the destruction of Israel. He also made a covenant with them at His holy mountain, through Moses His servant, who led all of Israel to the foot of the mountain to receive His laws and commandments.
But they were quick to disobey the Lord and be wayward. When Moses left them behind to go up the mountain and receive the Law of God, they quickly assumed that they had no God with them, and had it on themselves to make a golden calf to be god over them, following the customs of their neighbours. It is therefore no surprise that God was angry at them, because they have not appreciated the love with which God had cared for them, and betrayed Him for the pagan idols and gods.
How does all these relate to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? How are they relevant to us? All of us are sinners, brothers and sisters, and all of us have been disobedient to God in one way or another, and we have been enslaved to sin. Sin has corrupted us and crushed us under its power and influence. It was just like how the Israelites suffered under the tyranny of the Pharaoh and the Egyptians.
But God loves each and every one of us, and He wants all of us to be saved and liberated from all those sins. And therefore, just as the Israelites were brought out of Egypt by the mighty hands of God, God also endeavoured to bring all of us, His beloved people, to freedom and liberation from our sins. And He had done that, by the sacrifice of His own Son, the Paschal Lamb of sacrifice, just as the Israelites ate the sacrifice of the Passover lambs on the night of their liberation from Egypt.
And thus, by the waters of our baptism, all of us who have received the Sacrament of Baptism have received the salvation from God, the liberation from our sins that we are all looking out for. And we have all been made the people of God, as the members of His Church. However, as a reminder to us, through the past example of the Israelites, if we are not careful, we may also fall into the same trap of sin as the Israelites had experienced.
That means, all of us must be vigilant and be careful lest we fall into the temptations and the obstacles which Satan and his allies had prepared before us. We have to be careful of the temptation of our human pride, thinking that it is by our own achievements and power that we have attained all the glories we have received. That is what the Israelites had done, thinking that they had no need for the Lord and instead made upon themselves and glorified the statues made of their own hands as their god.
We have to be vigilant against all the works and the temptations that the devil is placing on our path, that we do not fall into sin. Let us make use this time of Lent to reflect on our lives, and think carefully how we should proceed with our lives, judging well what we all should do, that we may turn away from our past sinfulness and embrace wholeheartedly God’s forgiveness and mercy.
God may indeed be angry at our sins and our disobedience, for He hates all forms of sin that is disobedience and wickedness in His sight. However, at the same time, He also loves each and every one of us, all those whom He had created with love, and to whom He had granted life and grace. He wants to forgive us our sins, but are we responding to His merciful love? Are we open to God’s mercy working its power in our hearts, bodies and minds?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all recommit ourselves to God and to His ways from now on if we have not done so. Let us all appreciate the love that God has for each one of us, and let us no longer disobey Him, but learn to put our complete trust in Him and help one another to remain true and faithful to our God. May God bless us all, and help us to draw closer to Him, especially during this penitential season of Lent. Amen.