Wednesday, 17 March 2021 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Patrick, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 49 : 8-15

This is what YHVH says : “At a favourable time I have answered you, on the day of salvation I have been your help; I have formed you and made you to be My covenant with the people. You will restore the land, and allot its abandoned farms. You will say to the captives : Come out; and to those in darkness : Show yourselves.”

“They will feed along the road; they will find pasture on barren hills. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the scorching wind or the sun beat upon them; for He Who has mercy on them will guide them and lead them to springs of water. I will turn all My mountains into roads and raise up My highways. See, they come from afar, some from the north and west, others from the land of Sinim.”

Sing, o heavens and rejoice, o earth; break forth into song, o mountains : for YHVH has comforted His people and taken pity on those who are afflicted. But Zion said : “YHVH has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a woman forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child of her womb? Yet though she forget, I will never forget you.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 : 4th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in our Scripture readings today we heard the interesting parallel between what we heard in our first reading today on the vision of Ezekiel, the prophet of God as he saw the vision of the heavenly Temple and Sanctuary, and the water that flows out of that Temple which purifies and sanctifies, and gives life, with the account of the miraculous healing of a man at the Pool of Bethzatha by the Lord, healing that man from his sickness and made him able to walk again.

In our first reading today, we heard the vision of the heavenly Temple, the dwelling of God Most High by Ezekiel. In that vision, particularly in what we are covering today, the life-giving water that comes forth from the Temple is representative of the life that comes forth from the Lord Himself, Who is the source of all life, and from Whom healing shall come for all those who have been sickened and troubled, just as He healed those with physical complaints and sicknesses. And in the same way therefore, He has also healed us from our sins.

Through what we have been hearing, the Lord has the authority and power to heal us not just from our physical infirmities and troubles, but even more importantly from our sins. In fact, the Lord alone is capable of forgiving us from our sins, and reconciling us to Himself, which He has done therefore through His own Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Saviour of the whole world and all mankind. This healing happened on the Sabbath, on the sacred day in the tradition of the people of Israel and their descendants.

On the Sabbath, the Lord has decreed that the people should honour that day and refrain from doing work, with the intention of allowing the people to have the time to spend with God and to worship Him, rather than being occupied with their worldly matters and work for all of their time, or in pursuit of other matter and forgetting and leaving God out of their lives. Yet, this was never meant to prevent the people from doing good deeds and to do what the Lord has commanded them to do.

The Lord wanted all of His people to know Him and to be righteous in their ways, and He wants them to live their lives with Him as the focus and centre. Yet, they had forgotten this, and at the time of the Lord Jesus and His ministry, those who were charged with the preservation and care of the Law, they had erred and focused too much on the methods and the rigours of the rules and regulations of the Law, forgetting why the Law, especially that of the Sabbath was given by God to us in the first place.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us today are called to turn towards the Lord with ever stronger zeal and devotion. We are all called to renew our faith in Him and to believe that He is the One Who can heal us from all of our predicaments. Just as He has healed the sick man at the Pool of Bethzatha and made him to be able to walk again, thus we too can be healed from our infirmities. If we are perfectly healthy in the body, then are we in need of healing? The answer is yes! That is because of our sins, sins that corrupt us and make us unworthy before God, a disease that is eating up into our whole being, that God alone can heal.

And the Lord did all this through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ no less, by the ultimate and most loving sacrifice that He made on the Cross. He bared everything and emptied Himself, taking up upon Himself all of our sins and iniquities, and suffering greatly for all of them, for our sake, He has brought us the promised redemption and healing. Now, what are we going to do, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we going to embrace the Lord and His love, just as we have seen how much He had dedicated Himself to us? Are we grateful for everything that He had done to us?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, each and every one of us are called in this season of Lent to rediscover our faith and love for God. Are we willing to seek the Lord for healing and ask Him for the grace to be forgiven and reconciled with Him just like the sick man having strong faith and believing that the Lord could heal him? Let us all reflect and ponder on all these, and make the best use of the time and opportunities that have been given to us so that we may grow ever more in our faith and dedication to the Lord, through this time of reflection and reconciliation.

May the Lord guide our path and may He strengthen us all in our journey towards Him that we may find our path and may be ever closer to the Lord and persevere in our struggle in faith through life. May God bless us all and our good endeavours, all for the greater glory of His Name. Amen.