Saturday, 9 April 2022 : 5th 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 Scripture, we are all reminded to prepare ourselves for the beginning of the Holy Week, which as its name suggest is the holiest of all weeks in the entire liturgical year, seven days of celebration of Our Lord’s Passion, beginning tomorrow on Palm Sunday and which ends on the glorious resurrection at Easter Sunday. We ought to prepare ourselves in heart and mind to enter into this solemn occasion and period of time so that we may better appreciate the works and all that the Lord, our most loving God has done for us, for our sake and salvation.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, we heard the words of the Lord concerning His people, Israel and his descendants, the people of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah that had been scattered throughout the nations as they were defeated and conquered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians respectively, and they had been uprooted from the lands of their ancestors, brought off into exile in those far-odd lands where they had to endure the humiliation of losing their homeland and as a people that had brought ruin upon themselves because of their lack of faith in God.

God has always been patient with His people, and He has always reached out to them with a lot of love and compassion. However, it has always been us who have resisted His love and kindness. We have always been stubborn, just as the people of Israel and Judah had been stubborn in their rebellious attitude, in their refusal to listen to the prophets and messengers that God had placed in their midst to remind them. The Lord has always patiently reached out to His beloved ones despite of their attitudes, but it is indeed shameful to see the way that many if not most of us have behaved.

In our Gospel passage today, we have heard how the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council and most of its members had gathered together and plotted against the Lord Jesus because they had disagreed with Him constantly and even found Him as a great threat to their own legitimacy, authority and power. The Sanhedrin was made from the most influential members of the Jewish community, including the elders and the chief priests, the members of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Many among these people had found issues against the Lord, and mostly they were afraid that the great popularity that the Lord Jesus managed to gain would end up resulting in them losing their privileges, power and status.

That was why they discussed what to do with Him, and they resolved to crush Him, even if they had to resort to using backhanded methods such as false accusations and others, and even plotted to hand Him over to the Romans to be condemned and punished to death. They justified themselves, as Caiaphas, the High Priest at that time, argued that they were doing it all for the good of their whole nation. As they argued that if the Lord continued to gain popularity, eventually the Romans would remove the privileges and relative independence that they had granted the Jewish elite, the very same members of the Sanhedrin that were persecuting the Lord Jesus.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we heard today the reminder of just how difficult the Lord’s tasks were, as He had to go against those who refused to even open their hearts and minds to His truth and love. Yet, He did not give up on us, and He fulfilled the promises He had made to all of us since the very beginning. Just as He had promised to Adam and Eve, that Satan would eventually be defeated, and that the deliverance for mankind would come from the Lord, thus, Jesus our Lord came into our midst to fulfil all those promises, the promises God had made with each and every one of us mankind, all throughout time.

And He revealed that He would do all that by offering His own life on the Altar of the Cross. Through the Cross, He will claim all of us, as our Lord and King, Whom God had promised to us, that He will be King over all of us, as prophesied by Ezekiel and the other prophets. He has always been faithful and kind to us, always ever compassionate and patient in everything, and He gave us His own life, offering His Most Precious Body and Blood so that we can be saved from eternal damnation and destruction. Tomorrow we will commemorate the moment when He entered in triumph to Jerusalem, as the King Who has come to be with His people, and began the moments of His Passion.

The Lord knew well what He had to do and what He had to endure for the sake of His beloved ones. He had to be rejected, betrayed, and then made to suffer the worst sufferings and punishments for our sake, in atonement for our sins. Yet, He willingly endured all of them, because He truly loved us so very much, so much that He was willing to endure those humiliations, persecutions, the worst of pain and to go through the gates of hell and death for us, through His crucifixion. All these are what we will commemorate and remember throughout the Holy Week that will start tomorrow.

Let us ask ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ, if we are ready to commemorate Holy Week and the upcoming Easter season with faith and true understanding of their significance for us. And are our ways of life in accordance with what the Lord had taught and shown us? Or are we still living our lives in the state of sin? If the latter is the case, then that means we have to remind ourselves of everything that Our Lord has done for us, His constant and enduring love for each one of us sinners. And as long as we are still living and breathing air in this world, we still have the opportunity to make amends and return to Him for forgiveness.

Let us all wait no longer and tarry no more, and instead, make the conscious effort to find our way back to the Lord with faith. May all of us draw ever closer to God and do our very best to be good examples to one another in how we live our lives, with exemplary actions and good attitude, inspiring each other to be good disciples and followers of our Lord and Saviour. May God bless us always and remain with us throughout our journey of life, and may all of us have a blessed and wonderful Holy Week observance starting tomorrow. Amen.

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