Saturday, 7 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 118 : 1-2, 4-5, 7-8

Blessed are they whose ways are upright, who follow the Law of the Lord. Blessed are they who treasure His word and seek Him with all their heart.

You have laid down precepts to be obeyed. O, that my ways were steadfast in observing Your statutes!

I will praise You with an upright spirit when I learn Your just precepts by heart. I mean to observe Your commandments. O, never abandon me.

Saturday, 7 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Deuteronomy 26 : 16-19

On this day, YHVH, your God, commands you to fulfil these norms and these commandments. Obey them now and put them into practice with all your heart and with all your soul.

Today YHVH has declared to you that He will be your God, and so you shall follow His ways, observing His norms, His commandments and His laws, and listening to His voice. Today YHVH has declared that you will be His very own people even as He had promised you, and you must obey all His commandments.

He, for His part, will give you honour, renown and glory, and set you high above all the nations He has made, and you will become a nation consecrated to YHVH, your God, as He has declared.

Friday, 6 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, through our Scripture passages today as we continue to progress through this season of Lent, we are all reminded that we cannot be complacent in life and in our way of living our faith, as we can easily slip and fall into the many temptations and trials found in life all around us, and be trapped once again in the dangerous trap of sin. The devil knows this very well and he will indeed try his best to tempt us and to drag us deep into sin.

In our first reading today, as we heard of the passage taken from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, we heard God speaking to all of His people through the prophet Ezekiel revealing how He loved each and every one of us, His beloved children and people, and He wanted us all to be reconciled with Him and be saved from certain destruction because of our own sins. He revealed that He did not wish for the destruction of sinners and their damnation, but the reality is such that those who are condemned did so by their own conscious rejection of God’s righteous ways.

In that same passage then, we also heard how our salvation in God is not a done deal or assured for us unlike what some of us have preferred to believe, those who claimed that once we have been saved by faith, we will always be saved no matter what. Instead, God revealed to us all through the prophet Ezekiel that our faith and our salvation by that faith is also dependant on our actions and direction in life.

Those who are righteous, if they fall into sin and wickedness, will be judged by those same sins they committed, and if found wanting, will be condemned because of them. On the other hand, those who are wicked, if they repent from their wickedness and act righteously, they will be saved by those righteousness and faith that they have shown through their change in attitude in life. This is the essence of what we have heard in our that passage from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel today, that God loves us all and despises our sins.

God treasures us, His people though we are sinners, because He ultimately created us out of love and has that strong desire to love all of us and share His love with us. It is our wickedness and sins that made us to be unworthy and corrupted, regardless of whether we have been considered as righteous or wicked previously by others. That is why we are reminded not to be complacent in how we live our faith and our lives, that we have to be always ready and prepared to face the temptations and pressures that will come our way.

The devil and all of his wicked allies, the demons and evil spirits are always ready out there to tempt us, to sway us and to force and coerce us to go down the path of sin and darkness, and no one among us is free or immune to their corrupting influences and efforts. The more righteous we are and the better we have been in living our faith, the busier the devil and all of his wicked allies will in fact be, in trying to subvert us and to turn us into the path of sin.

That is why, we have to be vigilant all the time and strive to be righteous in the eyes of God and men alike. And it is also very important that we must have humility within us, as without humility it is likely that we will be easily overcome by pride and arrogance, hubris and the ego in our hearts and minds. And when we allow pride to overcome us, it is when it will be very easy for the devil to wrest us away from God’s path into the path of sin. After all, when we allow pride to overcome us and control our lives, we will end up focusing on ourselves more and God will be put aside and become secondary to us in importance.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we progress through this blessed season of Lent let us all make good use of the time and opportunity that God has given us so that we may rediscover our faith in the Lord once again, and allow ourselves to centre ourselves once again on Him. This is why this time of Lent is the perfect opportunity for us to reorientate ourselves and to turn away from sin, be more humble before God and admit before Him our sinfulness and wickedness, all our shortcomings and mistakes.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that God alone can forgive us our sins and heal us from this terrible affliction on our souls. If we allow sin to inhabit our hearts and minds, our beings for any moment longer, and worse still, to indulge on those sins, sooner or later we will fall deeper and deeper into the path of wickedness, and in the end, be judged by those wickedness we have committed. Instead, let us all heed what the Lord Himself had spoken to us in our Gospel passage today, calling on all of us to be righteous in all things and to be truly faithful in all of our ways in life.

Let us all be more loving towards our fellow brethren from now on, and let us devote more of our time and attention to the Lord and follow His Law and commandments daily. Let us show mercy and compassion on those who have wronged us and let us be more loving and compassionate in all of our actions and deeds. May God be with us always, and may He strengthen us all that we may have the courage to carry on living our lives with genuine faith from now on. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 6 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 5 : 20-26

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “I tell you then, if you are not righteous in a much broader way than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to our people in the past : Do not commit murder; anyone who does kill will have to face trial. But now I tell you : whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial.”

“Whoever insults a brother or sister deserves to be brought before the council. Whoever calls a brother or a sister, ‘Fool!’ deserves to be thrown into the fire of hell. So, if you are about to offer your gift at the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with him, and then come back and offer your gift to God.”

“Do not forget this : be reconciled with your opponent quickly when you are together on the way to court. Otherwise he will turn you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, who will put you in jail. There you will stay, until you have paid the last penny.”