Wednesday, 16 March 2022 : 2nd Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 20 : 17-28

At that time, when Jesus was going to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples and said to them, “See, we are going to Jerusalem. There the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law, who will condemn Him to death. They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will mock Him, scourge Him and crucify Him. But He will be raised to life on the third day.”

Then the mother of James and John came to Jesus with her sons, and she knelt down, to ask a favour. Jesus said to her, “What do you want?” And she answered, “Here You have my two sons. Grant that they may sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, when You are in Your kingdom.”

Jesus said to the brothers, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They answered, “We can.” Jesus replied, “You will indeed drink My cup, but to sit at My right or at My left is not for Me to grant. That will be for those, for whom My Father has prepared it.”

The other ten heard all this, and were angry with the two brothers. Then Jesus called them to Him and said, “You know that the rulers of the nations act as tyrants over them, and the powerful oppress them. It shall not be so among you : whoever wants to be more important in your community shall make himself your servant.”

“And if you want to be the first of all, make yourself the servant of all. Be like the Son of Man Who has come, not to be served but to serve, and to give His life to redeem many.”

Wednesday, 16 March 2022 : 2nd Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 30 : 5-6, 14, 15-16

Free me from the snare that they have set for me. Indeed You are my Protector. Into Your hands I commend my spirit; You have redeemed Me, o Lord, faithful God.

I hear whispering among the crowd, rumours that frighten me from every side – their conspiracies, their schemes, their plot to take my life.

But I put my trust in You, o Lord, I said : “You are my God;” my days are in Your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, from those after my skin.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022 : 2nd Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Jeremiah 18 : 18-20

Then, they said, “Come, let us plot against Jeremiah, for even without him, there will be priests to interpret the Teachings of the Law; there will always be wisemen to impart counsel and prophets to proclaim the word. Come, let us accuse him and strike him down instead of listening to what he says.”

Hear me, o YHVH! Listen to what my accusers say. Is evil the reward for good? Why do they dig a grave for me? Remember how I stood before You to speak well on their behalf so that Your anger might subside.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022 : 2nd Week of Lent (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 reminded to be righteous in all of our actions and deeds, in each and every moments of our lives. We have to be humble and attuned to our sins and faults, all the wickedness we have committed, and endeavour to overcome them, replacing them instead with righteousness and virtue. We are reminded to turn away from sin and to embrace God’s path, His love and grace.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard the words of the Lord speaking clearly to His people through Isaiah calling on all of them to remember what they are meant to be as the chosen people of God, as those whom God had called to follow Him and to be role models for all of the other people of this world. They were all reminded of the fates of the wicked, all those who have not obeyed the Lord’s will and committed sins against Him. Hence, that was why Sodom and Gomorrah were mentioned, the fate of those two cities destroyed because of the sins of its people.

At that time, the people of Judah had seen what happened to the northern kingdom of Israel, the ten tribes that rebelled against the House of David and which for most of its history, rebelled against God as well. The northern kingdom had been overcome, overthrown and conquered by the Assyrians, who crushed their kingdom and cities, destroyed their capital of Samaria and brought off the entire people into exile in far-off Mesopotamia, in exile away from their homeland. This was the fate of those who had disobeyed the Lord, persecuted His prophets and refused to believe in Him.

The same fate would be faced by the people of Judah as well, in due time, as after the time of the prophet Isaiah, the people fell again into sin after a brief return to the way of the Lord, and they would abandon and betray Him, resulting in them also losing their kingdom, their homeland, defeated and humiliated, crushed and conquered by the Babylonians, and brought in shame to exile in the far-off lands of Babylon and beyond, sharing in the fate of those who have disobeyed God earlier on.

Yet, God has always been full of mercy and compassion for His people, and just as He has patiently loved all of them for a long time, despite all that they had done to Him, in abandoning and rejecting Him, the Lord still wanted them all to be reconciled to Him, and He called on them all to return to Him, being penitent and humble, willing to abandon their old ways of sin and evil, and embrace the new path of life that God has shown us, the virtuous and righteous way of life that God has presented and taught to us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to the people regarding the pride and hubris of the elders and the leaders of the people of God, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, all those who were greatly respected in the community for their intellect, guardianship over the Law and the community, and which they then reciprocated with great arrogance and hubris, as they demanded a lot of honour and respect, to be treated with favour and given glory and fame.

That was exactly why many people failed to return to the Lord and remained in rebellion and disobedience against Him. It was the sin of pride, of ego and hubris that had brought many people down into sin, and they were the same ones that had kept people sinning again and again, and falling deeper and deeper into the path of sin and evil. This is why, as Christians, all of us are called to resist these temptations of our pride, ego, our hubris and ambition, all these desires we have for power and worldly glory, for wealth and fame among other things.

Therefore, let us all make great use of this Lenten season to be the good members of the Church and the Christian community. Let us all turn towards the Lord with renewed faith and commit ourselves in each and every moments of our lives, from now on, to face the world with the sight of faith, with the determination to carry on living our lives with genuine faith and trust in the Lord, living our every moments with courage and hope, as great role models of God’s path amidst our fellow brothers and sisters. May God bless us all and may He empower us all to live ever more courageously in His presence, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022 : 2nd Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 23 : 1-12

At that time, then Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples, “The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees have sat down on the chair of Moses. So you shall do and observe all they say, but do not do as they do, for they do not do what they say. They tie up heavy burdens and load them on the shoulders of the people, but they do not even raise a finger to move them.”

“They do everything in order to be seen by people : they wear very wide bands of the Law around their foreheads, and robes with large tassels. They enjoy the first places at feasts and reserved seats in the synagogues, and they like being greeted in the marketplace, and being called ‘Master’ by the people.”

“But you, do not let yourselves be called Master, because you have only one Master, and all of you are brothers and sisters. Neither should you call anyone on earth Father because you have only one Father, He Who is in heaven. Nor should you be called Leader, because Christ is the only Leader for you.”

“Let the greatest among you be the servant of all. For whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be made great.”