Saturday, 12 March 2022 : 1st Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the Lord speaking to us through the Scriptures in which we are all called to fulfil His Law and commandments, to live our lives wholeheartedly according to the way that He has shown to us. The Lord has called on us to follow Him and in order to do this, we have to listen to Him and to the teachings that He has shown us and passed onto us through His Church, through His Apostles and disciples, from whom we have been called to be true servants and followers of God.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Deuteronomy in which Moses, the leader of the people of Israel in their Exodus from Egypt, told the people to follow the Lord, His Law and commandments, for they had been chosen by God to be His own people and to be counted among His blessed ones, as God Himself has made a Covenant with them, renewing the Covenant that He once made with Abraham, their forefather. And as part of that Covenant, just as God would bless them and keep them safe, caring for them, therefore the people had to keep their part of the Covenant, which is to follow the Law and commandments of God.

At that time, the people of Israel had journeyed for a long time in the desert, for about forty years after they had disobeyed the Lord and distrusted Him in His love and providence, not listening to Him or trusting Him when He reassured them that He would be with them as they entered into the promised land, and instead rebelled against Him in fear. That led to the whole people having to endure that journey of penance for the entire forty years duration, as they wandered in the desert while waiting for the time that the Lord would once again lead them into the land He has promised to them.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the Lord telling His disciples and the people who were gathered to listen to Him that they were all called to love one another generously and unconditionally. This means that we cannot just love those who love us or give us happiness and benefit, but love has to be universal and unconditional. This was just exactly how the Lord Himself has loved us, as Jesus pointed out that God still loved and cared even for the wicked and for the greatest of sinners, blessing them just as He had done for the good ones.

The Lord still loved all of His people, all of us mankind, even from the moment when we began to sin against Him. He could have just crushed and destroyed us, annihilated us by there mere power of His will alone. Yet, He did not do so. He reached out to us and patiently sought to gather us back into His presence and embrace once again. The Lord has shown us this generous love, His compassion and mercy all the time, always ever patiently waiting for us to be reconciled to Him, when we realise our sinfulness and our fallen state, and make the concrete steps to return to Him.

But the Lord also reminds us therefore that in order to be His true disciples, hence we need to make the effort to follow Him in the way that He has taught us to do, to turn away from our sinful path, rejecting the temptations of our ego, pride, desire, ambition among other things, the pursuit of the pleasures of the flesh and many other distractions that are often found around us. As long as we do not make the conscious effort to go down the path that God has shown us, we will likely still remain separated from God, His love and grace.

That is why, during this blessed season of Lent, all of us are called to rebuild this relationship with God, the forty days of Lent and our fasting, abstinence and other observances recalling the forty years of the journey of the Israelites in repentance for their sins, their disobedience and refusal to believe in God, His love and His truth. This season of Lent, all of us are called to purify ourselves from the ravages of sins and evil that had corrupted and afflicted us for so long all these while. We are called to renew our faith and trust in the Lord, to know that it is in God alone that we can find true healing and salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore make great use of this time and season of Lent to seek the Lord with contrite hearts and minds, willing to humble ourselves, we sinners who are in need of God’s forgiveness and compassionate love. Let us rediscover the love that we ought to have for God, and let us turn once more towards Him with genuine faith. May the Lord continue to be with us in this journey of faith and life. May He encourage and strengthen us to be generous in loving one another too, to all men and to all people, even those who have not loved us back or even hated us.

May God be with us all and may He bless us in all the things we say and do, that through our Lenten observances, we will be purified and renewed, drawing ever closer to God. Amen.

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