Monday, 19 February 2018 : 1st Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings serve as reminders for us, especially in this season of Lent, to reexamine our actions and deeds in life thus far, and ask ourselves whether we have been truly faithful and good disciples of Our Lord, or whether we have wandered off and fallen into sinful ways. In the first reading we heard God’s reminders to His people as He delivered to them through Moses, His servant, on how to be faithful to His laws and commandments.

During that time, the people of Israel often disobeyed the Lord, and some even followed the pagan customs of the people they encountered during their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. They did not know how to differentiate what was right from what was wrong, and they did what were considered wicked and sinful in the sight of God, oppressing their neighbours and those who were weaker than them.

As a result, God handed down His laws and commandments to them, through Moses, by which He expected them all to follow and to obey those laws and commandments, so that they might no longer sin but instead find a renewed life and existence in obedience to God and therefore they would be worthy to receive the fullness of God’s promises and graces.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are all also God’s people, thus we are also expected to do the same with our own lives. We should listen to the commandments which God had passed down to us, and which He reinforced through the teachings of the Church He established. What does this mean? It means that we should be just in our actions, and show love to others in our dealings with them.

We should help those who are poor and downtrodden, sharing with them the blessings we have received, the excesses and the spare that we can give to them. Are we not moved to mercy and compassion when we see someone who is suffering from hunger, from loneliness, from sorrow, from persecution and from many other unfortunate occasions? When we are in the position to help, are we doing what we can in order to help?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Gospel today, we heard about the account of the Last Judgment, which the Lord Jesus shared with His disciples and with the people who listened to Him. In that account, He foretold to them, how all of us mankind will eventually face this great judgment of all, when all of us will be judged not only by what we have done in life, but also by what we have not done or failed to do in our lives.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are often familiar with the sin caused by our actions, which are done in disobedience to God, which is the sin of action. However, do we also know that there is also the sin of omission? The sin of omission is caused by our conscious refusal and rejection of doing what we could have done, for the sake of those who are in need, while we are in the perfect position to be able to do so.

In the Gospel passage, we heard how the Lord Jesus cast out all those who have committed the same sin of omission from His presence, because they have seen Him in the least of their brethren, who were in need and who could have been helped by those who saw and knew their plight, and yet, those who were in the perfect position and capacity to help refused to do so, and turned a blind eye and deaf ear to their sufferings.

Those who refuse to do what the Lord had commanded us to do, will suffer the just rewards of their refusal, that is eternal damnation and suffering in hell. That is what the Lord had made plain before all of the people, warning them to remain true to His teachings and to do what must be done, in order for them to gain justification and to be worthy of God’s kingdom. Now, the choice is in our hands, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Shall we do our best in this season of Lent, particularly at this time of great grace, which the Church had set aside for us that we may turn away from our sins and to embrace God’s ways? Shall we do what we can, whenever we see others who are in need in our midst, not necessarily for money or worldly goods, but even for a simple care, love and attention? Shall we be more generous in giving alms and love for our brethren, that we are no longer oblivious to their need and cry for help, but instead be ready to help them with all of our hearts?

May the Lord be with us all, brothers and sisters in Christ, that He may continue to bless our works and endeavours throughout this season of Lent. May all of our good works and actions bring us ever closer and help us to realise ever more, of the responsibilities we have as Christ’s disciples. May the Lord bless our work, now and always. Amen.

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