Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded yet again through the Sacred Scriptures of the great love of God, the many wonderful things that God had done for our sake. He has showed His love to us repeatedly, again and again, even when we have often betrayed and ignored Him, abandoned and left Him for other idols and distractions in life. He patiently extended to all of us the offer of His love and compassionate mercy, wanting to be reconciled with us sinners, and calling on all of us to return to Him.
In our first reading today, we heard of the words from the Book of the prophet Isaiah in which the Lord spoke to His people of His promised salvation to all of them. He would rescue them from their troubles and deliver them from the hands of the evil one, and all of the plots against them. This is significant given the context of what happened at that time, as the people of Israel, the descendant of the people of God had been going through a lot of challenges and trials, having been torn apart and lost their unity, and not only that, the northern half of the Israelites, the northern kingdom had been crushed by the Assyrians.
Hence, at that time, the people of God clearly knew what happened to those who have not obeyed the Law and the commandments of God, as the northern kingdom had almost always done, and as a result, many of the people were brought off from their ancestral lands, and sent into exile in far-off lands, while foreigners were brought to settle in the lands once settled by the people of God. The same fate would eventually befall the southern kingdom of Judah as well, because the people also continued to sin and disobey against God. But God did not abandon His people, and instead He reassured them through His prophets that He would be with them.
He sent His prophets like Isaiah and many others to remind the people of His constant love and the Covenant that He had made with them. He has shown them the path to salvation and righteousness as He had always done again and again, which culminated with the sending of Christ, His only begotten Son, into this world. By this action, He has given us the means to enter into the joy and glory of eternal life together with Him, that is through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour.
What we have heard today in our Gospel passage today is the affirmation of this truth, as spoken by the Lord Himself, as He revealed what He would do for our sake. Through Him, the Son of God and the Divine Word Incarnate, the Lord willed and wanted to be reconciled with us, and He came bearing the salvation of God and also the reminder that unless we are reconciled with Him, or if we reject His generous offer of mercy and love, then we will be judged and condemned by our own sins and wickedness.
Those who side with the Lord and accept His love and mercy shall have eternal life. But those who walked away from the Lord and refused to be reconciled with Him will have nothing but eternity of suffering and damnation in hell. We have always been given many opportunities to return to the Lord and to be reconciled with Him, but more often than not we have squandered off these opportunities because we still remained firmly attached to the path of sin. We were often unable to resist the many temptations of sin and therefore we still continue to walk down this ruinous path.
That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, having been constantly reminded of our predicament and what awaits us in the end should we choose to remain in this path. Do we want this to happen to us? Surely not right? That is why this Lenten season we are given yet more opportunities and reminders to return to the Lord with contrite heart desiring His forgiveness and to turn our way of life and outlook that we no longer walk in the path of evil and instead do whatever God has called and commanded us to do, to be righteous and just as His disciples and followers, to be exemplary in our way of life, in all things we say and do.
May the Lord continue to help and guide us in our respective journey of faith, and may He empower us all to live ever more worthily of His presence from now on, if we have not yet done so. Let us consciously reject the temptations to sin, and strive to live a good and worthy life at all times. May God bless us all and our every actions, so that we may always strive to glorify Him by those same actions and deeds. Amen.