Thursday, 14 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded of the vastness and the wonders of God’s love for each and every one of us, especially when we ask for His favours and for His care. He is not One Who does not care about us, His loved ones, but instead He shows concern for us at all times, as a loving Father to all of us. But often we do not realise just how great is the love that He has for each one of us.

Today we heard the first reading passage taken from the Book of Esther, in which the Queen Esther of Persia, who came from among the people of Israel, prayed to the Lord just before she was about to go before the King, with the intention of pleading for the sake of her own people who at that time was faced with certain annihilation at the hands of those who plotted against them. The order of the king to destroy the Israelites have been written into law, and the destruction of Israel seemed to be certain.

But against all odds, Esther was persuaded by Mordechai, her uncle, who knew of the plot against the Israelites, to make use of her position as queen to persuade the king to change his mind. Mordechai himself even said that perhaps God has placed Esther to be in that exact position for this very reason, that at the moment of doom and hopelessness, God would work His wonders through Esther, the one whom God had chosen to be the path of salvation for His people.

But for Esther, she faced a great and troubling prospect, for it was forbidden that the queen should come before the king without being summoned. She could have suffered imprisonment and even death for doing such an action. That was why, Esther prayed to the Lord, in the words she spoke in our first reading passage today, placing her complete trust in God, her Lord and Master, that He would guide her and protect her in all that she was going to do.

She beseeched the Lord to show mercy and love for the sake of her people, the beloved children of God, who were about to be massacred and destroyed without the means to protect themselves. God listened to her pleas and call for mercy, and He put forth into motion His plan of salvation for His people. He softened the heart of the king of Persia when Esther came before him, and he listened to the council of the Lord spoken through Esther.

In the end, the people of Israel were saved and they were allowed to defend themselves against their enemies. The Israelites were saved by the love of God, and because they prayed and asked the Lord for His mercy and compassion, through His servants Mordechai and Esther. He truly is a loving Father and Master to His beloved children and people, and He listened to them and knew what they needed.

This is exactly what the Lord Jesus told His disciples in our Gospel passage today, that if only we ask, it shall be given to us, knock, and the door will be opened to us. God will not abandon us in our time of need, and He is always by our side, caring for us and protecting us, each and every days of our life. When we do not realise this, and think that God is not there with us, that is because we are often too preoccupied and distracted by our worldly concerns and desires.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God is ever so loving and merciful towards us, and He is always willing to forgive us and to help us. Now, we were all again at the brink of destruction, because of sin. Sin is caused by our disobedience against God, and we should have been annihilated just as the Israelites were to be destroyed by their enemies in the days of Esther. But God intervened, because Jesus, His Son, has been sent into this world to be our Saviour.

Jesus became our High Priest, Who offered His prayers and petitions for our sake, just as Esther prayed for God to be merciful to His people. And just as Esther came before the king of Persia, risking her own life, thus Christ came between us and our eternal death, baring His own life on the cross, to become our Hope and our Salvation. And God showed His mercy to us through the triumph of the cross, for His Son has triumphed against sin, just as Esther triumphed against the enemy of Israel.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this season of Lent, we are all called to rediscover once again the love of God, the merciful gaze of His eyes which is always upon us. We have often ignored His love and refused to listen to His call in our hearts, calling us to be forgiven from our sins. Let us now no longer do what we have always done, and stop being so stubborn, and allow God to enter into our lives and be forgiven, by our sincere repentance.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to love each and every one of us, and may His mercy come down upon us when we ask Him for that mercy, that He will extend His grace and love once again upon us. May God bless us all and all of our actions, from now on, that we may glorify God in everything we say and do. Amen.

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