Thursday, 16 March 2023 : 3rd Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 11 : 14-23

At that time, one day Jesus was driving out a demon, which was mute. When the demon had been driven out, the mute person could speak, and the people were amazed. Yet some of them said, “He drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” Others wanted to put Him to the test, by asking Him for a heavenly sign.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.”

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God, has come upon you? As long as a man, strong and well armed, guards his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger man attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on, and disposes of his spoils.”

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters.”

Thursday, 16 March 2023 : 3rd Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 94 : 1-2, 6-7, 8-9

Come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful sound to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him giving thanks, with music and songs of praise.

Come and worship; let us bow down, kneel before the Lord, our Maker. He is our God, and we His people; the flock He leads and pastures. Would that today you heard His voice!

Do not be stubborn, as at Meribah, in the desert, on that day at Massah, when your ancestors challenged Me, and they put Me to the test.

Thursday, 16 March 2023 : 3rd Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Jeremiah 7 : 23-28

YHVH says, “One thing I did command them : Listen to My voice and I will be your God and you will be My people. Walk in the way I command you and all will be well with you. But they did not listen and paid no attention; they followed the bad habits of their stubborn heart and turned away from Me.”

“From the time I brought their forebearers out of Egypt until this day I have continually sent them My servants, the prophets, but this stiff-necked people did not listen. They paid no attention and were worse than their forebearers. You may say all these things to them but they will not listen; you will call them but they will not answer.”

“This is a nation that did not obey YHVH and refused to be disciplined; truth has perished and is no longer heard from their lips.”

Wednesday, 15 March 2023 : 3rd 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 of the obedience that all of us should have towards the Law and commandments of God, the precepts and ways that the Lord Himself has revealed and taught to us. As members of God’s Church, that is as Christians, each and every one of us are called to be truly obedient and committed to God’s path, to listen to Him and to do whatever He has asked us to do. That is what He Himself has tasked and entrusted to us to do. After all, how can we convince others to believe in God and to do our works of evangelisation if we ourselves had not really believed in God and His truth? We are no better than hypocrites and unbelievers if our way of life and actions do not reflect this faith we have in God, or worse still, contradict with that faith.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of Deuteronomy, we heard of the words of the Lord that He spoke to His people through Moses, who reminded all of them of just how blessed and fortunate they are to have been beloved in such a way by the Lord, their Lord and God. Moses told the people to listen to their God and to follow Him wholeheartedly, and not harden their hearts and minds against Him any longer. He reminded them all that the Law of God, the commandments and the path the Lord has shown them have been presented to them and therefore they should walk in the path of God and to pass down the knowledge of the Law and the truth of God through the generations to come. Moses hence exhorted and called on all the people of God to be truly holy just as the Lord Himself is holy, and to be good just as their Lord and Master is good.

Contextually, we must understand that Moses’ comments and exhortation was made with the understanding of just how stubborn the people of Israel could be, in disobeying God and in refusing to believe in Him. They had often rebelled against the Lord, complained against Him and chose to live a sinful and wicked life rather than obeying God and His Law. That is why the Lord sent them reminders through Moses to adhere to His path of righteousness and grace. God still loved His people all very much despite all those wickedness that they had committed. He even gave His people the reassurances that He would not abandon them and He will guide them all to the path towards salvation and eternal life. In the end, He fulfilled His promises and gave us the most perfect gift of all, that is none other than Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard how the Lord Jesus told the people and His disciples, telling all of them that He came into this world not to annul or remove the old Law, that refers to the Law of God revealed through Moses, but rather, He came into this world in order to make us whole once again, by gathering all of us from whenever we have been scattered throughout this world. He came to clarify the meaning, intention and purpose of the Law of God, which was always meant to help the people of God to redirect their focus and attention towards the Lord. Unfortunately, throughout the preceding centuries, the Law had been often misunderstood and misinterpreted by the people who misused and exploited the Law for their own selfish interests and desires. This led to the Law of God no longer being practiced in the way that they were supposed to be observed.

Hence, the Lord came into the world to reveal the truth to us, about His love for us and about everything that He had done for our sake, that by His revelation and teachings, He might bring us closer to Himself. He tells us that the Law was not meant to oppress us or to make us to feel superior or the right to discriminate one another. The Law has often been misused back then as means for some to gain more renown, praise and fame for themselves, just as what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done, in seeking attention and praise for their piety and actions, in their way of observing the Law and the prayers and practices they did, in the public places and more. Not only that, but they also allowed the temptations of vanity, pride and worldly greed to affect and influence them, and as such, they ended up becoming more distant and sundered from God, just like how their ancestors and predecessors had disobeyed God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are all reminded to turn towards the Lord once again with faith, and commit ourselves anew with the desire to love Him and to follow His path, resisting the many worldly temptations being present all around us. All of us are called especially during the time of this season of Lent to be more attuned to the Lord, and to rediscover the faith and love that we all ought to have for Him. Each one of us have been given the opportunity and the time for us to return with faith back towards our Lord and Master, Who has always looked kindly upon us, always ever reaching out to us, finding us and trying to bring us back to His loving embrace once again. Now it is really up to us if we want to embrace God’s love and compassionate mercy, and it is up to us to choose if we want to walk in the path of His righteousness and grace.

God has presented His Law before us and He has also given us the Wisdom and the opportunities to discern what we are going to do with our lives. He has given us His patient guidance and help so that hopefully we may realise the folly of our evil and sinful ways, and that hopefully we may find our way back once again to His loving embrace, by His grace and mercy. This season of Lent is particularly good time for us to realise this and to reflect on our way of life and on our actions so that hopefully we will not continue to walk down the wrong path. Let us all turn towards the Lord and reflect upon the good examples that His holy saints and martyrs, all the holy men and women of God, our holy predecessors, and see what we can learn in our journey of life throughout this Lent and beyond. Let us all draw closer to God and deepen our relationship with Him, resisting the temptations and the allures of worldly desires and attachments, among other things.

May the Lord continue to bless and guide us in our path this Lent, so that we may have a most fruitful season and time to reconnect with God, to obey His Law and commandments with vigour and zeal. May God bless us all and may He guide us all with the strength and grace to follow Him wholeheartedly and to free ourselves from sin. May God empower us with the courage and strength to dedicate ourselves anew each day. Wishing all of us a most blessed and good season of Lent. Amen.