Saturday, 5 March 2022 : Saturday after Ash Wednesday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures we are all called to continue this journey of purification of our whole entire beings, as we are called to do in this season of Lent. We are reminded to get rid from ourselves the excesses of worldly temptations and corruptions, seeking the Lord for His forgiveness and mercy, and to grow ever further in our love for Him, dedicating and spending our time and effort to walk in His presence always.

In our first reading today taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard the words of the prophet reminding the people of Judah to whom he had been sent to, calling on them to follow the Lord wholeheartedly and reject the sins and the wicked ways that they and their ancestors had done. The prophet relayed the words of the Lord to the people, calling on them to reject sin and evil, to follow once again the path that the Lord has shown them. The Lord wanted all of them to turn back towards Him and to find healing and consolation in Him.

The people of Judah and Israel at that time as well as during the time of their ancestors had fallen far away from the path that God has shown them, as they followed the pagan gods and idols, persecuted the prophets and the many messengers that God had sent to them in order to remind them and help them. They had torn down the altars of God and built altars for the pagan gods and idols in their place. And despite all of these, God still loved His people above all else, and despite having been betrayed and abandoned by those same people, God was still willing to welcome them all back to His embrace, provided that they all repented from their sins.

This is what the Lord Himself had shown us in our Gospel passage today, as He called upon Levi, the tax collector to be His follower. Levi listened to the Lord, abandoning everything behind and followed the Lord henceforth, becoming one of His disciples and eventually as one of the Twelve Apostles, St. Matthew, he became a very important and fundamental part of the development of the Church of God. St. Matthew and many other followers of the Lord such as St. Mary Magdalene, among others, were considered as sinners and unworthy by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.

Yet, those were the same ones who willingly devoted their lives to God, rejecting their past, sinful way of life, embracing God’s forgiveness and mercy at its fullest, and walking down the path of God henceforth. The Lord called all sinners to come to Him, all of us the sons and daughters of man, without exception, as He wants us to be healed from the sickness and corruptions caused by our sins, and free us from the tyranny and bondage of those sins and evils. In God alone we can find healing and liberation, and He has generously extended to us this offer of love and compassionate mercy.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard all these words from the Scriptures, we are all reminded that we are so fortunate to have the Lord and His kindness by our side, and yet, many of us are still unaware of this and remained away from the Lord, separated from Him and remaining in the state of sin. This time of Lent we are all reminded that God’s mercy and love for us persists, and what we all need to do is to embrace that mercy and love. It is unfortunate that many of us have not taken up the opportunities presented to us to embrace God’s love and still ignored His generous offer of mercy and forgiveness.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to make use of the opportunities given to us in this season of Lent to be more attuned to God and to be more aware of our mortality, our weaknesses and our sins, remembering just how we should have suffered the terrible consequences for those sins, and yet, God gave us the opportunity to be redeemed and to find our way to His salvation and grace. He has opened for us the path to eternal life with sure guarantee, only if we are willing to follow Him. We have to strive to resist the many temptations of the world present all around us.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be like St. Matthew, and all the other sinners and rebels who have responded to the Lord’s call and committed themselves to a new life that is free from sin and full of Christian virtues and righteousness. St. Matthew and the others have shown us that there is a great future for us sinners, as long as we have that desire to seek the Lord for His forgiveness and commit ourselves to follow Him wholeheartedly from now on.

Let this season of Lent be a time of renewal and a rediscovery and rejuvenation of our faith, as we come closer to God and His throne of mercy and love. Let us all spend more time with the Lord and deepen our relationships with Him, through prayer and more genuine efforts to communicate with Him, spending quality time together and doing more to walk faithfully in His path. Let us be more humble and be more committed to the Lord as we go through this season of Lent, and practice our Lenten observances with genuine faith and desire to love the Lord more and purifying ourselves from the many corruptions of sin.

May the Lord be with us all and help us as we journey with faith through this time of preparation and purification, and may He inspire in us the courage and strength to continue living our lives with dedication and commitment at each and every moments of our lives. May God be with us all, now and always, through this season of Lent and beyond. Amen.

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