Tuesday, 28 February 2023 : 1st Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we all listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, each and every one of us are called to remember that we have a truly great and most loving God by our side, our most loving Father and Creator, the Almighty God, Who has created us all out of His ever generous love. The Lord has never ceased to love us and care for us, despite our frequent stubborn attitudes and rebellions against Him. He has always reached out to us with love, caring for us in each and every possible opportunities, calling upon us to return to Him and to find our way back to Him, all because He does not desire our destruction, but wanting us to be fully reconciled with Him. That is why He even gave us all the best gift of all, the gift of Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, Who is His own beloved and begotten Son.

In our first reading today, as we heard from the passage from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we listened to the Lord speaking to His people regarding how He has sent His Word into this world to do His will, and how everything shall be fulfilled, accomplished and perfected through His Word, and this is in fact a prefigurement of the coming of His Saviour and the salvation that He has always promised through this Saviour. The Lord was speaking about His Son, the Divine Word Incarnate, the Son of God, Who is truly the Word through Whom the world and all of creation has been created. As St. John the Apostle highlighted it in the beginning of his own Gospel, this Word of God, Incarnate in the flesh, is the same Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the whole world, Who has given His life for all of mankind, by His suffering and death on the Cross.

And God’s will is truly to bring us all to redemption through His Son, by His perfect obedience and most selfless offering of Himself so that each and every one of us may be saved and gain new life through Him. Not only that, but the Lord Jesus Himself has also shown us by His examples and works, all that He has revealed and taught to us, so that we may come ever closer to the Lord, our most loving Father, including what we are reminded of in our Gospel passage today with the Lord’s Prayer, the Prayer that the Lord Himself has taught to all of His disciples, and which I am sure that we are all well familiar with. The Lord taught His disciples this prayer so that they may know how they should be praying in a proper way, and how they should always spend some time to connect with the Lord, at every possible opportunities.

That most perfect and wonderful prayer that the Lord Himself has taught us is the combination of thanksgiving and gratitude that we ought to express to God, for all the blessings and wonders that He had provided for us, in every opportunities we have. We also hear the great adoration and glorification of God, which prayers should also entail, as we glorify the Lord Who is our great Master and Creator, the One through Whom everything has been made possible for us. The Lord has blessed each one of us wonderfully, and we often ignored this truth and fact, and we often overlooked and forgot about Him, until the time when we have need for Him, and that is when we started looking for Him, seeking His help and guidance, and even, demanding that He must take action to help us and to give us what we wanted or asked for.

This is why many of us are reminded today as we progress through the season of Lent, so that in this time of recollection and reconciliation with God, we may come closer to the Lord through genuine prayer and quality time spent with Him. We should not be like those who only remember the Lord in the time of their need and then forgot about Him whenever they had no more need for Him. The Lord is not One Who we can demand for action, or One Whom we consider as a convenience for our own selfish desires and greed. We must also not be like those hypocrites who outwardly confessed to be faithful to the Lord or profess obedience and faith in Him, and yet, in their hearts, they did not have any true and genuine love for Him.

That was what many of us had done, and many among us lacked that true faith and commitment which we should have for the Lord. This is why, we should first of all begin by reorientating and redirecting our focus in life from ourselves and our own desires back to the Lord. The Lord, our God and Master should always be the focus and emphasis of our whole existence, and we should do whatever we can in order to walk in His path and righteousness, turning away from whatever sinful and wicked things that have often separated us from the wonders of His love and grace. Each one of us have been given this perfect opportunity during this season and time of Lent to rediscover the love we ought to have for God, and the path of righteousness that we should all be following.

We should hence spend more quality time with the Lord, in prayer, fasting and almsgiving during this time of Lent. Through prayer, we all should come ever closer to the Lord and spend the time to communicate with Him, so that we may truly listen to Him speaking in our hearts and minds, knowing His will and His calling for each one of us. Through fasting, each one of us are called to restrain the desires of our flesh, and the many temptations all around us so that we do not end up falling into the wicked ways of this world and becoming ever more entangled in the traps of sin. And lastly, through almsgiving, all of us are called and reminded to be ever always filled with love for one another, remembering that everyone is our own brothers and sisters in the same Lord, our loving Father.

Let us always be generous in giving from our hearts, giving our time, effort and attention to the Lord and to our fellow brethren, spending more time to live our lives with faith and devotion. May the Lord continue to guide us in our journey, and may He empower each and every one of us so that we may always persevere and remain strong in our faith and commitment to Him, despite the many challenges in the world that we may have to face, in our journey towards the Lord and His salvation. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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