Tuesday, 3 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 6 : 7-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do; for they believe that, the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask Him.”

“This, then, is how you should pray : Our Father in heaven, holy be Your Name, Your kingdom, come, Your will, be done on earth, as in heaven. Give us today, our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are in debt to us.”

“Do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their wrongdoings, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you.”

Tuesday, 3 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 33 : 4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

Oh, let us magnify YHVH; together, let us glorify His Name! I sought YHVH, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, YHVH hears and saves them from distress.

The eyes of YHVH are fixed on the righteous; His ears are inclined to their cries. But His face is set against the wicked, to destroy their memory from the earth.

YHVH hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles. YHVH is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 55 : 10-11

As the rain and snow come down from the heavens and do not return till they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower and food for others to eat, so is My Word that goes forth out of My mouth : it will not return to Me idle, but it shall accomplish My will, the purpose for which It has been sent.

Monday, 2 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we all continue to proceed through the season of Lent, let us all begin with the end or the goal in mind, as we recall what we have just heard from today’s Scripture readings. I am especially referring to what we have just heard in our Gospel passage today, in what we usually know as the Last Judgement narrative when the Lord Jesus told His disciples what would happen at the end of time.

In summary, at the end of time there will be a great judgment for all mankind who have ever lived, from the times of the past, from our current present and from the future times. All mankind will rise again and be present before God, Who will then judge all of them by their deeds and actions throughout their respective lives. Then they all will be separated into two groups, one that are worthy of God and the eternal life of joy they have been promised, and the other one are those who have rejected God and consequently are also going to be rejected and cast out into eternal darkness.

And the Lord spoke to all of them, one group by one group, welcoming those who have been considered worthy of God, and rebuking those who have been found unworthy and wanting in their faith. Using this, the Lord also then showed what are the way for each one of us mankind to end up in either one of the groups. Those who are welcomed and praised by God, are those who love others, cared for the need of the hungry and the oppressed, the orphans and those who have been rejected by others, essentially showing love for those who are less fortunate than them. All these support them on the Day of Judgement.

Meanwhile, those who have been rejected and cast out are those who on the contrary, failed to extend a helping hand to those who are in need, who turn a blind eye to the needs of those who are unloved, poor and weak, those who are oppressed and downtrodden. They have put themselves and their own selfishness above the need to love and care for others, or worse still, benefit in the face of the sufferings of others. All these weigh down on them on the Day of Judgement.

If all of these sound quite familiar to us, that is because today we have heard it yet another time earlier on the first reading passage from the Book of Leviticus. In that occasion, as God laid before His people, the Israelites through Moses and Aaron, His laws and commandments, He has already told and taught them how to live their lives as good, virtuous and faithful followers of God’s path and what it means to be the chosen people of God.

And it means that His people ought to act righteously at all times, shunning hatred and injustice, showing care and concern for their fellow brothers and sisters in their midst. This is the same exhortation and precepts that all of us as Christians, God’s chosen people must also take heed of. Why is this so? That is because whatever God has taught and revealed to us, has been affirmed again and again, and finalised by Christ, in His account of the Last Judgement today. Through that account, we are blessed to find out from the Lord Himself, what will be the ultimate outcome of our choices in life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are essentially presented with the choice between following and obeying God’s ways, as I have just described in great length, or whether we prefer to follow our own path, that is more likely than not, centred on ourselves and on our own self-preservation, thinking only about ourselves and causing hurt on others in the process, or being ignorant on the plight of those who are suffering all around us. I am certain that I do not have to elaborate again on what the final outcomes of our choices will be, as the Lord had explained and revealed them all so clearly.

Today, as we continue to progress through this blessed penitential season of Lent, let us all ask ourselves, whether we want to live our lives in the manner of those whom God will reject in the end, or whether we want to embrace the ways that God has presented before us. And indeed, our challenge is that we have been called to take up this way of life if we have not done so, and continue walking through it, if we have walked it earlier. It will not be an easy path, as we will definitely encounter many trials and oppositions along the way.

Nonetheless, if we remain faithful to the end, despite the trials and challenges, we will enjoy the fullness of God’s grace and love, as we have been assured by Christ Himself. Let us now therefore pray for one another and help each other in remaining faithful to God throughout our lives. Let us make our season of Lent this year be a fruitful and beneficial one, by deepening our relationship with God through prayer, and by practicing charity in our lives daily. May the Lord be with us always, and may He guide us in our journey of faith, as we continue to struggle and persevere through life. Amen.

Monday, 2 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His Angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him; and, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your home. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.’”

“Then the righteous will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?’ The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it to Me.’”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me.’ And these will go into eternal punishments; but the just, to eternal life.”

Monday, 2 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 18 : 8, 9, 10, 15

The Law of YHVH is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The word of YHVH is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of YHVH are right : they give joy to the heart. The commandments of YHVH are clear : they enlighten the eyes.

The fear of YHVH is pure, it endures forever; the judgments of YHVH are true, all of them just and right.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart find favour in Your sight, o YHVH – my Redeemer, my Rock!

Monday, 2 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Leviticus 19 : 1-2, 11-18

YHVH spoke to Moses and said, “Speak to the entire assembly of the people of Israel and say to them : Be holy for I, YHVH, your God, am holy. Do not steal or lie or deceive one another. Do not swear falsely by My Name so as to profane the Name of your God; I am YHVH.”

“Do not oppress your neighbour or rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning. You shall not curse a deaf man nor put a stumbling block in the way of the blind; but you shall fear your God; I am YHVH.”

“Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor nor bow to the great; you are to judge your neighbour fairly so as not to share in his guilt. Do not go about as a slanderer of your people and do not seek the death of your neighbour; I am YHVH.”

“Do not hate your brother in your heart; rebuke your neighbour frankly so as not to share in his guilt. Do not seek revenge or nurture a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself; I am YHVH.”