Saturday, 3 March 2018 : 2nd Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Scripture passage relating to us about God’s mercy and great love and compassion for each one of us. God revealed that through His prophet Micah, who reminded the people of God, of the moments when God had cared for them and loved them, when the people were faithful and obedient to God’s laws.

Even though the people of God had wandered off their path, and fell into disobedience and sin, God was always ready and willing to welcome them back to His embrace, caring for them and loving them with all of His heart. He was always ready to forgive them for their trespasses and mistakes, and He even actively tried to bring them back to Him, by sending to them many prophets and messengers, to call upon them to repent from their sins, including that of the prophet Malachi.

Now, let us all reflect on the parable which the Lord Jesus told His disciples and the people, the famous parable of the prodigal son. This parable is a primary example of God’s rich forgiveness, which was framed within the story of the prodigal son, who left his father with all of his inheritance to try out his luck in faraway lands, only to squander all that he had, and lost everything. Yet, the father was very willing and ready to forgive him and embrace him back when he finally returned to him.

The father in that parable is none other than God Himself, Who is always loving and filled with joy for all of His beloved children, all of us mankind, as represented by the two sons that the father had. The elder son represented those who have always been faithful to the commandments and the laws of God, while the younger, prodigal son represented those who have fallen into disobedience and sin, and thus became separated from God’s love, symbolised by the estrangement that happened when the younger son went off for the journey to the foreign lands.

We see how that prodigal son spent off his life in the faraway lands by indulging on the pleasures of life, and squandered off all of his money and possessions on prostitutes and merrymaking, and when he had nothing left, no one was left that cared for him and loved him. They only befriended him and cared for him because of his money and possessions, and once these failed him, he was left with nothing.

But he remembered his father’s love and care, which was a distant memory in his mind. Initially he was embarrassed to return to his father, as he had surely disgraced him, not only by his lifestyle, but because he has also wasted away all of the portion of inheritance that he was to receive from his father. Nonetheless, in the end, he mustered the courage and conviction to come back to his father, even if he had to humiliate himself and beg for forgiveness.

And as we heard in the story, he was forgiven by the father, who did not just welcome him back, but even threw a big and lavish party in welcoming him back, who have been thought lost and gone, but was then found again and reunited with his father. This, as the Lord Jesus explained, was the same with all of us, sinners and rebels, those who have been separated from God and His grace, when we sincerely desire to be forgiven and to be reconciled with God, Our loving Father.

Now, let us reflect on what we have heard, and think of what it is that we should be doing as Christians during this season of Lent. This time of Lent is a particular time of grace, of the preparation of the heart, mind and body, to prepare ourselves to celebrate worthily the coming of Easter and its joyous occasion. First of all therefore, we should remember that joy which we must look forward to, the same joy which engulfed both father and son, when the prodigal son came back to the father in tears, and was received with great joy.

The Lord has given us all His own Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to be Our Saviour, by His death on the cross, and by the outpouring of His Body and Blood. He has become the worthy sacrifice by which all of us who believe in Him and accept Him as Our Lord and Saviour, will be reconciled and reunited perfectly with God. God has gone all the way to this extent, sparing nothing less for us, because He loves each one of us, just like the father who was so joyful in seeing his son that he had a great celebration for his return.

Secondly, all of us should follow the example of the prodigal son, who despite his earlier doubts, was willing to come back to his father, seeking his forgiveness and mercy. Are we able to overcome our doubts, our reluctance and especially, our pride, to humble ourselves before the Lord, knowing that we are sinners and therefore are in need of God’s healing, love and mercy?

And last of all, we should not be like the elder son, who became angry at his father for welcoming back the long-lost child, because he was jealous of the treatment that his younger brother had received from his father. That was what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done at the time of Jesus, as they always sneered and jeered at the Lord’s constant efforts to bring sinners to reconciliation.

Instead, brothers and sisters in Christ, during this season of Lent, we should be filled with greater love and joy, living with greater commitment and dedication to love God with all of our hearts, with all of our efforts and strength. Let us love our brethren with greater heart and dedication, caring for them and looking up to them, that more and more souls may be saved from damnation.

May the Lord awaken in us the strong desire to love Him, that day after day we will grow to realise more and more how much He loves every one of us. Let us all seek to be forgiven and to be reconciled with Him, and receive from Him the gift of mercy and eventually the glory of eternal life. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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