Saturday, 6 April 2019 : 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 reminding us that the time of the Holy Week is truly coming closer and closer, as the nature of the Scripture passages speak to us about the upcoming moments of Christ’s betrayal and handover to His enemies, His suffering and Passion. We are hearing more and more about the persecution of God’s faithful ones, which is a reminder of the suffering of Christ.

We are reminded of this fact in order for us all to reflect and do some self-introspection on our own stubbornness and refusal to listen to the word of God in our way of life. We heard how the prophet Jeremiah suffered in the first reading today, as he mentioned the opposition that he had to encounter during his ministry, the sufferings he had to endure, as his enemies gathered up against him, accusing him of many wrongdoings and even threatened his life and safety.

The prophet Jeremiah went up against tough opposition, particularly many of the nobles and the advisors to the king of Judah. Jeremiah proclaimed the imminent coming of the end of the kingdom of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem, but those who opposed Jeremiah accused him of being a traitor to the nation and as a doomsayer, bearer of bad news. They wanted him to be killed and executed, but there were still some allies who helped to keep Jeremiah safe.

Nonetheless, Jeremiah still had to suffer imprisonment, incarceration, and for several months if not years, he was suffering in a dry sewer where he was hidden from his enemies who wanted him dead. At least, Jeremiah did not suffer the fate of the other prophets who were slaughtered and murderer by those who refused to believe in them. And that was the fate that the Lord Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, suffered from.

The chief priests were plotting with the members of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, as well as with the other prominent members of the community, who were opposed to Jesus, and they wanted to arrest Him and to punish Him and even kill Him, that He would no longer become a threat to their own influence and position of honour in the community. They saw Him as a threat and rival to their own teaching authority and power.

And as they indulged in worldly power and desires, they closed their hearts and minds from wisdom and reason, and they sinned because of the jealousy, pride and desire in their hearts, which led them to arrest the Lord, made Him suffer and handed Him over to the Roman administration and demanding for His death by crucifixion, a most humiliating and painful death preserved only for the worst of criminals.

Through all of these we have witnessed and heard, we are in fact called to look deep into our own lives, and on how we have lived them all these while. And we need to ask ourselves if we have allowed all these wicked desires, the ego and pride in our hearts to affect us and our judgment of actions? Should we not try to overcome and remove from ourselves these obstacles, by which we have been separated from God’s grace and love?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all pray that as we continue to prepare ourselves physically, spiritually and mentally during this season of Lent, we may draw ever closer to God and attune ourselves to His ways. Let us no longer be separated from Him and let us all shed from ourselves the taint of human pride, of greed and ambition, that we may receive from Him the fullness of pardon and forgiveness from our sins.

May God be with us always, and may He continue to lead us to the right path, that we will not be easily led astray by the devil and all those seeking our destruction and damnation. May this blessed season and time of Lent be a time of renewal and reconciliation for all of us. Amen.

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