Tuesday, 29 March 2022 : 4th Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 5 : 1-16

At that time, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now, by the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, there is a pool (called Bethzatha in Hebrew) surrounded by five galleries. In these galleries lay a multitude of sick people : blind, lame and paralysed.

(All were waiting for the water to move, for at times an Angel of the Lord would descend into the pool and stir up the water; and the first person to enter the pool, after this movement of the water, would be healed of whatever disease that he had.)

There was a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus saw him, and because He knew how long this man had been lying there, He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” And the sick man answered, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed; so while I am still on my way, another steps down before me.”

Jesus then said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk!” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his mat and walked. Now that day happened to be the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had just been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and the Law does not allow you to carry your mat.” He answered them, “The One Who healed me said to me, “Take up your mat and walk!”

They asked him, “Who is the One Who said to you : Take up your mat and walk?” But the sick man had no idea who it was Who had cured him, for Jesus had slipped away among the crowd that filled the place. Afterwards Jesus met him in the Temple court and told him, “Now you are well; do not sin again, lest something worse happen to you.”

And the man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus Who had healed him. So the Jews persecuted Jesus because He performs healings like that on the Sabbath.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022 : 4th Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 45 : 2-3, 5-6, 8-9ab

God is our strength and protection, an ever-present help in affliction. We will not fear, therefore, though the earth be shaken and the mountains plunge into the seas.

There is a river whose streams bring joy to the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within, the city cannot quake, for God’s help is upon it at the break of day.

For with us is the Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob, our refuge. Come, see the works of the Lord – the marvellous things He has done in the world.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022 : 4th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Ezekiel 47 : 1-9, 12

The man brought me back to the entrance of the Temple and I saw water coming out from the threshold of the Temple and flowing eastwards. The Temple faced the east and the water flowed from the south side of the Temple, from the south side of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing the east and there I saw the stream coming from the south side.

The man had a measuring cord in his hand. As he went towards the east he measured off a thousand cubits and led me across the water which was up to my ankles. He measured off another thousand cubits and made me cross the water which came to my knees. He measured off another thousand cubits and we crossed the water which was up to my waist. When he had again measured a thousand cubits, I could not cross the torrent for it had swollen to a depth which was impossible to cross without swimming.

The man then said to me, “Son of man, did you see?” He led me on further and then brought me back to the bank of the river. There I saw a number of trees on both sides of the river. He said to me, “This water goes to the east, down to the Arabah, and when it flows into the sea of foul-smelling water, the water will become wholesome.”

“Wherever the river flows, swarms of creatures will live in it; fish will be plentiful and the sea water will become fresh. Wherever it flows, life will abound. Near the river on both banks there will be all kinds of fruit trees with foliage that will not wither and fruit that will never fail; each month they will bear a fresh crop because the water comes from the Temple. The fruit will be good to eat and the leaves will be used for healing.”

Monday, 28 March 2022 : 4th 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 have faith in the Lord and to trust in Him and His love, His providence and ever wonderful kindness to us. We are all precious in the eyes of God and all of us will enjoy the fullness of His love and favour once again, if only we turn to Him and entrust ourselves to His loving heart. Our Lord has always loved us since the very beginning, and He wants us all to rediscover our love in Him and to put our trust in Him once again.

In our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard the reassurance from the Lord for His people as He called on them all to return to Him with faith, to be converted from their sinfulness and evil ways. He called on all of them to follow Him once again as He told them how they would enjoy the glorious wonders that await them, the vision of the new and heavenly Jerusalem, the great kingdom of God that awaits all those who are faithful to God. God would gather them all and make them His people once again.

This was important in the context that many of the people of God had been scattered by the time of the prophet Isaiah, with the downfall of the northern kingdom of Israel, in which many of the descendants of the Israelites having lived in that kingdom and after it had been destroyed by the Assyrians just shortly before the time of Isaiah, they had been scattered among the nations. Their cities and lands had been ravaged and destroyed, and they and their descendants had been uprooted from their ancestral lands and forced into bitter exile.

Thus, Isaiah’s words are reminders for all the people of God’s ever wonderful love and compassion which He extends to His beloved ones. He wants them all to return to Him. However, it was often the people themselves who stubbornly refused to follow the Lord and did not do as they had been taught and shown to do. Instead, they preferred to depend on their own strength and on worldly means, all of which led them further astray and away from God and His saving grace. Nonetheless, God was ever patient and has always called on His beloved people to turn back towards Him with repentance and love.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the miracle that happened in Capernaum in Galilee, as He healed the child of an official there. The official believed in the Lord and asked Him to make his son whole again. He had faith in the Lord Jesus, even just by hearing His words and commands, saying that his son would be well. He did not need to have the Lord coming physically to his place and make his son well again, or to see the miracle happening before his own eyes. Contextually, again this must be understood in the light of what likely had happened before, as many among the people still did not believe in the Lord after all the wonders He had shown them, particularly the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who often criticised and opposed Him.

That was why, the official’s faith in the Lord was indeed significant, as compared to the lack of faith in many others, and should serve as a reminder for all of us what it means for us to be faithful to the Lord. We must not take our faith for granted and we have to be inspired by that great faith possessed by the official who believed wholeheartedly in the Lord and in the end, truly having his son healed and made well again, even only by the mere words and proclamation of the Lord. Can we have the same faith in the Lord too, brothers and sisters in Christ?

Today as we listened to these words, we are all reminded of how we need to deepen our faith in the Lord and grow further in our relationship with Him. We are all called to return to the Lord and to follow Him wholeheartedly. God has always been generous with His love and mercy, and we should respond to His call with faith. Let us all make good use of the opportunities that He has given us especially during this season of Lent to turn back to Him and return to His loving embrace. Let us inspire one another to draw ever closer to God and commit ourselves to Him anew with love.

May the Lord help us that we may always be strong and can endure the many trials and challenges that may come our way amidst the journey of faith in our life in this world. May He empower and strengthen each one of us so that we may be ever more faithful to Him and trust in Him more, allowing Him to lead us forward through life, and be ever courageous in standing up for our faith in Him, now and always. Amen.