Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we continue to progress on through the season of Lent we are called to remember God’s most amazing love and boundless mercy, His compassion and all the patience that He has shown to us, His beloved people. The Lord has shown us great love and is willing to forgive us from our many sins, provided that we are willing to embrace Him and His love, and turn away from our sinful ways and disobedience.
In our first reading today, all of us heard the words of the prophet Daniel, the famous prophet who lived in exile in Babylon after the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and after many of the remnants of the people of God were brought there by the Babylonians into many decades of exile. The prophet spoke of God’s great mercy and forgiveness, and how the people had been sinful and wayward in their path which resulted in their misfortune then.
They have abandoned the Lord and followed the foreign and pagan idols, disobeying the commandments and laws of the Lord and persecuting His prophets. They and their kings had not listened to the Lord and to those whom He had sent to remind them and help them to find their way back to Him. As they all were humiliated and had to suffer being exiles among the nations, led by the prophet Daniel and others like Ezra, Nehemiah and all the post-Babylonian conquest figures, the people of Israel began to walk the long path of repentance from their sins.
Eventually, the people would return to their homeland, after the Persian King Cyrus declared emancipation for the exiles of Israel, allowing them to return to their homeland. The city of Jerusalem and the Temple of God were rebuilt in due time and the people once again lived in the grace of God. All these happened a few hundred years before the coming of the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of the world. And as time and history had shown, the people of God fell again and again into sin, disobeying the Lord and not following the path He has shown before them.
The Lord Jesus in our Gospel passage today was reminding the people of His time again of the great mercy and love of God by which He desired to reconcile us all to Himself. And He also told the people to be merciful just as the Lord, their Father has been merciful to them. For if they themselves had been shown mercy by God for our serious and grievous transgressions and faults, then how can we not do the same with our fellow brothers and sisters for far lesser and far smaller faults and misgivings?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture passages remind us all that first of all we are called to reexamine our way of life and look deeper into our actions in life, and how we have behaved as the followers of Christ. If we have not obeyed the Lord’s will, disobeyed His laws and commandments, disregarding His reminders and ignoring His love and mercy, then we are reminded that God’s mercy and love are always available for us, but we must not take these for granted.
If we do not repent from our sins and continue to be wayward in our lives, then know that we shall be judged by whatever sins we have committed, as well as by all the failures in doing what the Lord has told us to do. Only God can forgive us our sins, and we need to show genuine repentance, regret from our sins and show the desire to love the Lord and to be faithful to Him so that we may receive pardon from God, our loving Father and be reconciled with Him.
That is why in this season of Lent we are all called to turn back towards the Lord with contrite hearts, to return to Him with newfound love and dedication to our Lord, and with the strong desire to reject sin and all of its evil allures. And we are also called as the Lord Himself told His disciples, to be merciful just as the Lord has been merciful to us. In this season of Lent, let us all strive to forgive one another whatever misgivings, misunderstandings, faults and issues that are present between us which prevent us from finding a common ground and from being reconciled to one another.
Let us all forgive one another our shortcomings and faults, and show love, care and compassion on those who need them so that we may understand the importance of being forgiven ourselves from our sins, and that we may grow ever stronger in love for God and for our fellow men without being burdened by hatred and by other obstacles and stumbling block caused by sin and the many temptations found in the world. May God be with us and may He strengthen us all to live faithfully ever in His presence, now and always. Amen.