Friday, 12 March 2021 : 3rd Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the Lord, we are all reminded that the Lord loved us all very dearly and similarly He also wants us to love Him in the same way and to show the same love to our fellow brothers and sisters, our neighbours and fellow men whom we encounter in this life. This is our calling as Christians, to be those who are beloved by God, and who also show the same love of God to one another.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Hosea, detailing about God and the love that He had for all of His people, at the time when the northern kingdom of Israel where Hosea was ministering in was in its final days. At that time, the people of Israel had long been wayward and disobedient, refusing to obey the Lord and His ways, rejecting the many messengers and prophets that had been sent to them in order to remind them to follow the Lord.

As such, they suffered the consequences of their waywardness, their rebellion and refusal to listen to God. They were crushed and humbled, and as the prophet Hosea was famous for, their doom was pronounced. This would come true with the final defeat of the northern kingdom by the forces of the Assyrians who destroyed Samaria, its capital and occupied the whole land, depopulating the region and replacing the whole people to the far-off Assyria.

But with the message of doom also came the message of hope, as the Lord reaffirmed through Hosea, His love and commitment for His people. He called on all of them to repent from their sinful ways and to reject their past wickedness. If only that they would abandon those sins, He would gladly forgive them and embrace them once again when they came to Him with contrite heart. The Lord still loved His people even though they had betrayed Him, abandoned Him and refused to listen to Him, and that is just how much God’s love for us is.

In our Gospel passage today, then we heard the Lord conversing with one of the teachers of the Law regarding the most important commandment in the Law. This conversation came about partly because of the great number and variety present in the Law, the many rules and regulations that govern the Jewish society at the time. The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees were those who often zealously guarded the strict observance and following of the laws of Moses, and as such, when the question was asked, that teacher of the Law might have the intention of testing the Lord to find out what His opinion was regarding the Law.

However, based on the answer given by the teacher of the Law, it might seem that he was just curious of what the Lord thought about the Law. And the Lord indeed summarised the whole Law very well and revealing to all that the Law is indeed all about showing the love of God to man, and how mankind can love God better in their actions and life, and then show the same love to their fellow brothers and sisters.

We cannot be true disciples and followers of the Lord unless we truly believe in this and fully immerse ourselves in God’s love. That is why, during this season of Lent, first of all, we are all called to repent from our sins and to seek the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy, which He has shown us and reminded us through His prophet Hosea, in calling us all to turn back to Him and to be fully reconciled in Him once again.

And in order to do this, we need to do what the Lord has commanded us to do, through His Law and commandments. All these while, we have erred and fallen into sin, like those Israelites of the past and so many others who have rejected God and His generous offer of mercy and compassion, all because of our ego and pride, and these things became great obstacles in our path towards God.

That is why during this season and time of Lent, we need to become smaller in ourselves, in our ego and pride, in our selfish desires and in the desire to be greater and in our wishes to achieve our own personal needs, and instead, we seek to put God above all else, and make Him the centre and the reason for our very existence. And in doing that, we shall also love our fellow brothers and sisters, our fellow mankind.

May the Lord help us in our journey to rediscover ourselves and to realign ourselves to Him. Let us all make the conscious effort to turn wholeheartedly towards God, from now on, and may God bless us all in our every good efforts and endeavours, and may we never again lose sight on our focus and hope in God. Amen.

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