Saturday, 27 March 2021 : 5th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are about to begin the Holy Week of the Passion of Our Lord tomorrow on Palm Sunday, today we are reminded through the Scripture passages of the coming of God’s salvation and all of His loving promises as the prophet Ezekiel has revealed to the people of Israel in exile as we heard in our first reading today, and then we also heard of the coming of the time of the Lord’s Passion, His suffering and death as we heard of the meeting of the Sanhedrin or the Jewish high council in the Gospel today, plotting the end of the Lord.

Beginning with our first reading today, we all heard of the Lord speaking to His people through the prophet Ezekiel at the time when most of the descendants of the Israelites had been scattered away from their homeland, without a home to return to, without a nation and king to rule over them, without the Temple around and within which they could worship the Lord their God, for they have been defeated and crushed by the Babylonians. Their cities were destroyed, the kingdom destroyed and the Temple of God was also destroyed.

But God reassured His people through Ezekiel that He did not forget about them, and neither did He desire for them all to continue to suffer. On the contrary, He revealed that He would save all of them in due time, sending His salvation into the world, to gather all of His scattered children and call everyone to Himself through His Saviour, Who is none other than Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, the Son of God and Son of Man, the Divine Word Incarnate.

It was therefore by the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ into this world that we have seen the light and salvation of God, the hope and enlightenment through which we shall find our liberation and freedom from the tyranny of sin and death that had reigned over us all these while. Just as the Lord reassuring His people through Ezekiel that the dark and difficult times of their exile in Babylon and elsewhere would not last forever, thus the Lord through Christ, His own beloved Son, He would liberate all of His beloved ones and gather them all into His loving presence and grace.

Unfortunately, as we can see many people refused to believe in the Lord when He came to them bringing the revelations of God’s truth. This is likely because those chief priests, elders and the members of the Pharisees were to proud to admit that they had been wrong, and they did not want the good situation, prestige and respect they had garnered from the people to wane and disappear. That was why the High Priest Caiaphas discussed among the chief priests and elders, and mentioned the need to bring an end to Christ so that their whole nation could be saved, when in fact they meant that their own livelihood and status could be preserved.

Thus, as we heard, the Lord went in hiding and did not openly show Himself anymore in public until when He was arrested and put on trial before the Sanhedrin and later on eventually by Pontius Pilate, to be condemned like a criminal and to die a most painful and humiliating death on the Cross. But through all that, God had brought salvation unto us, that by the selfless, perfect and most loving sacrifice He had made, Christ reconciled us with God, our loving Father and Creator.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard in our Scripture passages today, we are therefore reminded first of all of the Lord’s ever gracious and generous mercy, the great patience by which He awaits us and is still waiting for us to return to His righteous embrace. We are all called to seek Him and to rend our hearts, minds and souls before Him, allowing Him to touch us with His love, compassion and mercy.

Let us all not harden our hearts or be swayed by our ego or pride. Instead, let us all humble ourselves and be inspired by Christ’s own humility and obedience to the will of His Father, that as we enter into the most solemn celebrations of Holy Week beginning tomorrow with Palm Sunday, we may reflect well on the great sufferings that Christ has suffered for our sake, in His willingness to endure the worst of humiliations, sufferings and pains for our salvation.

May the Lord be our guide, and may He strengthen each and every one of us, that we may find our way to Him, and be ever more committed and willing to live our lives as good and dedicated Christians from now on if we have not already done so. May all of us have a blessed Holy Week celebration beginning tomorrow, and become ever closer to the Lord, our God, through Jesus Christ, His Son. Amen.

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