Friday, 31 March 2017 : 4th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are reminded of the fact that all those who follow the Lord, those who are walking in the way of the Lord, all of us who are faithful to God, Christians in name and in deeds, will be the target of those who would seek our downfall. We will be the target of all those who are opposed the Lord and His ways.

That was what happened to the prophets, as reiterated from the Book of Wisdom as per of first reading today. The prophets encountered great resistance from the people, beginning from the time of Moses, when the Israelites often rebelled against his authority and followed their own way, to the days of Samuel and the Judges, when the Israelites again and again disobeyed and sinned against God.

The prophets encountered great troubles in the days of Elijah and Elisha, as the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel and the people refused to listen to them. They were persecuted and oppressed, and had to flee even their community in the case of Elijah, who had to flee to desert. The other prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah also suffered ridicule and rejection, particularly Jeremiah, who was hated by others in his community and was ridiculed as a doomsayer.

People plotted against them and did all sorts of nasty things against them, just as much as they acted in this manner against the Lord and His disciples. They harassed them, rejected their message and persecuted them. They littered their path with obstacles and challenges, and made martyrs from many of these faithful servants and disciples of our Lord.

Why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because, it is the very nature of our sins, the sins of mankind. Sin has made us to turn against the ways of the Lord our God, into our own selfish ways, and as sin had permeated the whole race of man, the whole world itself has become filled with wickedness and corruption. People have become morally corrupt and evil in their words and deeds.

But we Christians are beacons of light in the midst of this great darkness. We bring forth into this darkened world, none other than the true Light of Christ, the Light of the world. For those who have closed their hearts against God and His love, who are stubbornly refusing to welcome His mercy and forgiveness, the light brought about by our actions and works in this world is an eyesore to them, and thus, that is why there will be lots of opposition to us and to whatever we are doing in the Name of the Lord.

However, we have to remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that God is always with us, no matter what happens. There may indeed be very difficult times and moments in our lives, but even if we do not realise it, God is always by our side, supporting us and providing us with the necessary help, often in His own mysterious ways. And thus, God is our helper, our strength and our hope.

In this time of Lent, we are all called to draw closer to God, to be closer to Him and to appreciate more of the love and mercy which He had shown to us all these while. Sometimes, in our busy life schedule and activities, we have the tendency to forget about God, to overlook His grace and love for us, and that is when we end up distancing ourselves from Him, and fall into a higher risk of stumbling on the path littered with challenges and obstacles as we proceed with these lives of ours.

And let us also not forget about all those who have hated us and persecuted us. Am I serious when I said this, brothers and sisters? You must be wondering why I said so. Indeed, I am truly serious about it. Remember, the Lord Jesus Himself said, “Forgive your enemies and pray for all those who persecute you.” If the Lord Jesus Himself has forgiven those who have made Him to suffer and die on the cross, and indeed, all of us, because it is by our sins that He had suffered, then why should we not do the same?

Let this season and time of Lent be the beginning of a new chapter of our life, where we will no longer be angry or be filled with hatred at others, especially at those who hate us because we belong to Christ. Instead, let us counter their hatred with love, with forgiveness and mercy. Who knows, that because of the love which we show them, they may be touched in their hearts and be converted to the truth of Christ too.

May the Lord be with us, and may He strengthen our faith, that we may always be faithful to Him in all the things we say and do in this life we have. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

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