Monday, 6 March 2023 : 2nd Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we continue to progress through this season of Lent, all of us are continuously reminded to make our lives and actions to be truly good and worthy of God, and we are reminded today to show compassion and mercy on others, just as the Lord Himself has shown to all of us whenever we disobeyed, rebelled and sinned against Him. He has no need to be merciful or kind to us, as He did not owe us anything, and yet, He unconditionally loved us all, and continued to care for us even after all these while. Since the very beginning, when God created us, He has created us all with love, and He has patiently taken care of us, while guiding and providing help for us in our journey that we may come to find our way back to Him.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Daniel of the prayer which Daniel made to God on behalf of the people, asking and beseeching Him for His mercy and compassion on His people, who have suffered much humiliation and hardships, asking Him to remember His love and mercy for all of them, while being sorrowful, bashful and regretful over the many sins that they and their ancestors had committed. Daniel highlighted the many sins that the people of God had committed in the past, and how God had always showed them love and mercy even as He admonished, punished and struck at them for their stubbornness and refusal to listen to Him and His prophets. Essentially, God loves all of us, His people, but He does not condone the sins and wickedness that we have committed before Him.

Contextually, by the time of the prophet Daniel, the people of God had indeed faced a lot of trials and tribulations. In the past, their ancestors in Israel and Judah had often rebelled against God, refusing to obey His Law and commandments, rejecting His ways and precepts, worshipping pagan idols and gods, destroying and defiling the sanctity of His Temple and holy places, among many other wicked deeds and actions that they had done. Yet, God still patiently looked out for them and called on them to return to Him, and sent His many servants, messengers and prophets to remind them all and to call on them to return to Him, ever ready to forgive them should they choose to repent from their many sins and wicked deeds.

God listens to the prayers and pleas of His people, and He did forgive them, and even led them all back to their homeland, after a period of penance and exile, lasting about seventy years in Babylon. This was similar to how their ancestors, the Israelites in the days of the Exodus had to endure forty years of journey in the desert because of the stubborn rebellion that they had committed during their journey towards the Promised Land, in refusing to believe in the Lord and His providence. This shows us that God loves us, as He has always done, but He despises our sins and wickedness, all of which had separated us from the fullness of God’s grace and love. Unfortunately, more often than not, we did not realise that we are doing things that are against God’s Law and commandments, and we often succumb to the temptations of our various desires that we ended up falling again and again into sin.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus told His disciples that they all had to be merciful just as the Heavenly Father has been merciful to them. They ought to show love just as love has always been generously shown to them, so that they may truly live their lives in the most Christian manner, as those who belong to the Lord and walk in His path. It is by our actions and works that people may come to know the Lord, as each and every one of us are called to be the beacons of God’s light, truth and love in the midst of our communities. But the sad reality is that, many of us Christians are still not yet living our lives in the manner that we are expected to live them, as we placed much more emphasis and focus on our own personal desires and wants, our worldly ambitions and attachments, among all other temptations and things that often become obstacles and trials in our path towards God and His grace.

Many of us are selfish in our way of life and outlook, in the way we carry ourselves and act, and in our many interactions with one another. This selfishness have caused much harm and hurt to others around us, as we seek to satisfy our own personal ambitions and wants, which often caused hurt and sufferings for others, either through direct manipulation and exploitation, or through competition and our actions that lead to discomfort and difficulties for others, among many other things. We also often become jealous of each other and easily angered by another’s actions, holding grudge and hatred upon one another, and as a result, our actions often reflected less of our Christian faith but more of our own personal and worldly ambitions and wishes. We often chose to follow the whim of those ambitions and desires rather than obey the Lord and listening to Him.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are reminded and called to turn away from all those things and resist the many temptations of the world all around us. In this season of Lent in particular, each and every one of us are reminded that we are all sinners in need of healing, forgiveness and mercy from God. All of us have been afflicted by the plague of sin, which had corrupted and prevented us from coming close to the Lord and His fullness of love and grace. It is sin that has sundered and separated us from the love of God, and yet, God’s love for us is truly so strong that He kept on loving us nonetheless, calling upon us to follow Him and to embrace Him, as He continues to offer His generous mercy and forgiveness each and every moments of our lives. In this season of Lent, we are all reminded that all of us have the capacity and the potential to be holy and good, to be worthy of God, but we must make the commitment to walk in the path of God’s righteousness and truth.

That is why, all of us are called today to be ever more attuned to the Lord in our lives, resisting the many temptations to sin and disobey the Lord. Instead, by our faithful practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving this Lent, let us deepen our relationship with God, restrain our personal and worldly desires as well as ambitions, and learn to become more generous in loving one another, putting others as equally important as ourselves. Let us all be no longer selfish in our attitudes and way of life, but be filled with God’s love and generosity, kindness and compassion, and do our best to love one another just as God has loved us. May God bless us all and our every good efforts and endeavours, and help us to have a most fruitful and blessed season of Lent. Amen.

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