Tuesday, 24 March 2020 : 4th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we continue to progress through the season of Lent, we are reminded of the coming of our wonderful reconciliation and healing in the hands of God, through what we have heard in our Scripture passages today. From the first reading taken from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, we heard of the vision Ezekiel received of the glorious Temple in heaven, while from the Gospel passage from St. John’s Gospel we heard of the healing of a man by Jesus, who had been sick for thirty-eight years long.

In our first reading today, through the vision which the prophet Ezekiel received from God, we have seen the promise of a wonderful and glorious eternal life and joy that God promised to His people, at that time when the fortunes of the people of God were truly at a very low level. During the life and ministry of the prophet Ezekiel, the last bastion of the Israelites, namely the kingdom Judah and Jerusalem were destroyed and conquered by the Babylonians who brought many of the people into exile, and the Temple of Jerusalem built by king Solomon was also destroyed.

The destruction of that very visible and important centre of the faith and community of the Israelites was indeed a very tragic event that was brought about by the disobedience and the sins of the people themselves, as they distanced themselves from God and disobeyed His commandments and laws, persecuted all the prophets and messengers that had been sent into their midst to remind them to be faithful to God and to repent from their sinful ways. Instead, they continued to dwell in sin and became even worse in their deeds.

But despite all these, and despite the stubbornness constantly showed by God’s people all those while, and for all the wickedness and evil they had committed, God’s love for all of us His people is still far greater than His hatred for our sins. It is our sins and wickedness that He despises, for those things are wicked and corrupt, and have no place in His presence. But all of us sinners, we are all beloved by God and He wants us all to be freed, liberated and purified from the corruptions of our sins.

Thus, through the prophet Ezekiel, God has revealed a glimpse of His plan of salvation and restoration for His people. He showed the prophet the vision of the heavenly Temple, as the restoration of the Temple once lost to the people of Israel, the promise that God would once again dwell amidst His people, and from the Temple, would come the life-giving water and spring of life as seen by Ezekiel. And in truth, this vision of Ezekiel is a prefigurement of Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of us all, Who in our previous Sunday Gospel passage, told the Samaritan woman that He is the source of the life-giving water and in Him is the eternal spring of life.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the sick and diseased people who gathered at the Pool of Siloam near Jerusalem, which was a place renowned for its healing properties. But for a man who had laid there for over thirty-eight years, healing and hope seemed to be truly far off and fleeting. No one helped him to get into the water to be miraculously healed, and he suffered all those years waiting for hope for healing. It was until the Lord Jesus came by him, that he finally received healing, by the hands of the Lord Himself.

The Lord has shown us His mercy and love through Christ, and He wants us all to be healed through our faith in Him. He wants us all to receive once again the fullness of His grace and inheritance, and gathering all of us once again together to worship Him. All of us who have sinned against God have fallen ill with this disease and corruption of sin, and we are all in need of healing, as unless we are forgiven our sins, we may end up being condemned by those same sins and faults we have committed.

God alone can forgive us our sins and heal us from our afflictions, and we are called today to reflect on our own lives and our actions thus far. In this time and season of Lent all of us are called to be more faithful to God, to trust Him more, and to draw closer to Him. God has given us a new hope and that assurance of salvation through Christ, His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, but it is up to us whether we want to embrace that generous offer of mercy and love He has offered us all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore strive and do our best to put God once again at the centre of our lives and existence. Let us all turn away from our sinful ways and reject all sorts of sins and wicked behaviours we have committed all these while, and be like that sick man, who sought healing from God and receive it through our faith in Him. Let us all purify ourselves, our thoughts, intentions and all of our actions especially during this great opportunity given to us in this season of Lent.

And last of all, as we know how many people in various places and communities are now suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, let us all also ask God to bring His wonderful grace and healing upon us all, that all those who are afflicted may be healed and comforted, and those who have lost their loved ones may find peace in God. May God bless us always, protect us and be with us at all times, now and forevermore. Amen.

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