Wednesday, 14 March 2018 : 4th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture telling us about our obedience to the will of God, as we heard how Jesus Our Lord obeyed the will of His Father, and delivered to us the words of truth, and the revelation of God’s love and desire for us all, that each one of us may be reconciled with Him in perfect love.

In the first reading, God promised His people that He would send them His salvation, because He would have pity and show mercy to His people, and He would not abandon them to their fated destruction because of their sins. He may hate and despise their sins and wickedness, but ultimately all of them, each and every one of His people, are His beloved ones. God loves us all His children, for if He had not loved us, He would not have created us.

Unfortunately, it was our sins caused by our refusal to obey His laws and commandments that have caused our separation from Him. We were meant and destined to be with God forever, and yet our sins sundered us from Him, and our ancestors were cast out of God’s presence at Eden because of their sins and their surrender to the temptations of the devil in eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Sin is caused by the disobedience of our ancestors, and also our own refusal to listen to God’s will, as He had made it clear to us through His laws, His prophets and messengers, and which He had delivered to us Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, and then passed on to us through His Apostles and disciples in the Church He established, which we are part of. We sin because we think that it is better to follow our own path, to follow our own thoughts and ways, our preferences and desires rather than to walk in the path that God had set before us.

That is why, in assuming the flesh and form of Man, by being Incarnate and born of His mother, Mary, to be the Son of Man just as He is the Son of God, to be the perfect Man and the role model of obedience for all of us, who have sinned because of our disobedience. As we have disobeyed God and subsequently fell into sin, Jesus showed us how we can be obedient to God, and therefore receive forgiveness for our sins, and be reconciled with God.

All power, authority, glory and honour has been given to Christ, as the Saviour and Liberator of all man, to free them from all bonds of sin and from our fated punishment because of those sins. He alone has the power and authority to deliver us from our sins and from all those punishment, and that is the essence of what we have heard from our Gospel passage today. And yet, God chose to show all these not through mighty deeds and wonders, but through the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ.

He wanted to show all of us that while disobedience has caused us to sin and therefore, to be sundered from God and deserving eternal damnation, but obedience to God following the examples of Christ will bring about a new life, filled with a new grace, grace from God and forgiveness for all the trespasses and faults that we have committed thus far. He chose to show us true obedience, and also His love for each one of us, by willingly taking up all of our intended punishments, our sins and everything we should have suffered from, on His cross and bearing it up to Calvary, where He died for us, so that we who believe in Him may be forgiven and live.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this season of Lent, all of us are supposed to prepare ourselves for the coming celebration of Holy Week and Easter, all of which are centred on the saving mission of Christ which He performed through His suffering, death on the cross, and ultimately His resurrection from the dead. Through this act of perfect and selfless love, God showed us that out of all the darkness of sin and all the wickedness, by obeying His laws and commandments, we can be redeemed and enter into the eternal glory of heaven.

And what is it that we must do in order to obey the Law? First of all, we must put God first and foremost in our minds, in all the things we do, and we must love Him with all of our hearts. Then secondly, we must show love, care and concern for our brethren, for our neighbours and all of our fellow men, by our actions and deeds. In fact, when we sin, we put our own ego, our own desires, and our very selves ahead of God, and ahead of others.

There have been many occasions in the history of man, when we have acted selfishly and wickedly, putting our own interests ahead of our obligation to God and to our fellow men. Wars and conflicts have been fought and much destruction wrought just so that some individuals can get whatever it is that they desired and wanted. And when man gained something, as we should be aware of, we cannot be easily satisfied by what we already have, and we end up desiring for more.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, during this season and time of Lent, we are all called to reevaluate and reorientate our lives so that when we were once slaves to sin, and to our desires and greed, we may be able to turn our disobedience and refusal to believe in God and walk in His ways, into obedience like that shown by Christ Our Lord Himself. As Christians, all of us are called so because we believe in Christ. But can we call ourselves Christians if we do not follow the examples Christ had set before us, and do not do what He Himself had done?

The Lord showed compassion and love for the weak and the downtrodden. He cared for the well-being of His people, feeding five thousand men and more women and children in one occasion, and four thousand in another, when He saw them hungry and without sustenance after following Him for days. And when He saw them lost without a guidance, He spent many hours teaching them about God’s truth.

We can see from these examples how Christ put His people ahead of Himself. He ministered to them, obeying the will of His Father with all of His heart and commitment, even if His human existence might be tired, exhausted or hungry. Are we able to do the same as well in our own lives and in our interactions with others? Are we able to act selflessly for the benefit of others and obey God’s commandments like Christ had done?

These are the questions that we need to keep in mind as we continue to journey through the time of Lent. Let us all devote ourselves anew to God, and change our way of life, that from disobedience we turn towards a new obedience and faith to God. Let us be ever more devoted and good servants of God. May the Lord be with us all, now and always. Amen.

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