Thursday, 4 April 2019 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Isidore, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (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 all about the matter of faith and belief in God, that is the cornerstone and centre of our faith, and indeed, of our entire lives. For without true faith and devotion to God, we cannot live our lives in the manner that is in accordance to the way that the Lord has shown us, the path towards salvation.

In the first reading today, taken from the Book of Exodus, the Lord spoke out of His righteous anger before Moses, wanting to destroy the Israelites for the sins which they have committed, sins which were truly grievous and terrible, because they have willingly, consciously and deliberately rejected God despite having witnessed and received the great providence, love and grace from God, Who personally intervened for their sake and liberated them from their enemies and oppressors.

They chose a golden calf, crafted and made by the hands of man to be their god. They abandoned the Lord Who had blessed them and protected them so much, just because they thought that He was not there with them, just when Moses left them for a period of time as he went up the mountain to communicate with God and to get His Laws and commandments. They performed a great sacrilege and betrayal by such an act.

As recorded in the Book of Exodus, it may seem that the Lord is an angry and vengeful God, but this is the same pattern that happened throughout most of the Old Testament, as the people saw Him as One Who did not tolerate dissent or disobedience. But in truth, it was not the Lord Who willingly wanted the destruction of His own people, His beloved ones. Rather, it was their conscious rejection of God’s love and their sins that condemned them to destruction.

Moses interceded on behalf of the people, asking God to turn away from His righteous anger and forgive His people their sins. He reminded Him of the promises and the love that He has shown to His faithful servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And He relented and turned away from His wrath because He is a faithful God, Who is faithful to the Covenant that He had made with His servants, His beloved people.

This is a reminder for each and every one of us that we have also experienced the same thing in our own lives due to sin. By our sins we have made ourselves like the Israelites who rejected God’s love and grace and made for themselves an idol out of gold. Likewise, we have made for ourselves many idols, from all of our attachments, desires and all the other longing of our earthly lives.

And the Lord Jesus revealed Himself in the Gospel passage today, as the One Who is interceding for us before God as Moses once did, and called on all of us sinners to listen to Him and to receive His message of truth. He made it plain, clear and simple, that all those who listen to Him and receive His truth with faith, the Lord will bring them all to the salvation that He has promised to all of them. If they otherwise prefer to remain in sin and refuse to repent and listen to the Lord’s call, then they shall be judged and be condemned by the same sins.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is where we need to keep in mind of just how loving and forgiving our God is. Despite all of our sins, He is still willing to embrace us and to forgive us from our trespasses and wicked ways, as long as we are willing to make the conscious effort to turn away from those sins and accept His truth, as revealed to us through Christ, His Son, Who has pleaded and interceded for us, through His suffering and death on the cross.

Yes, that is just how much God loved us and treasured us, that He was willing to go through all the troubles and difficulties just so that we all may be saved from certain destruction because of our own sins and disobedience. And all of us therefore should love God with all of our hearts, and devote ourselves to Him wholeheartedly, from now on, throwing away all the wicked idols of money, power, fame, influence, worldly glory and all the things keeping us from righteousness in God.

Today we can also model ourselves from the examples shown to us by the saint of the day, St. Isidore of Seville, known as a holy man and devout servant of God, who preached and taught among the people in what is now modern day Spain. He preached the truth of God and called on the people to abandon their sinful and wicked ways, and helped many others to get out of their sins, and seeking the forgiveness of God. He himself lived a holy and austere life, devoted and dedicated to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all turn to the Lord from now on and spend our effort in trying to make ourselves worthy once again of His love. God wants to forgive us our sins, but do we want to be forgiven? Unless we want to be forgiven, we will not be able to fully reconcile ourselves with God, and worse still, we may fall again and again back into sin, and from there to destruction and eternal damnation, a fate we certainly want to avoid.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to guide us through life, that we may draw ever closer to Him and find the way to the fullness of His love and saving grace. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

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