Tuesday, 4 April 2023 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures and as we continue to progress through this blessed time of the Holy Week, all of us are reminded to continue to focus our attention on the Lord and appreciate everything that He had done for us, in how He has reached out to us with His love, patiently caring for each and every one of us, leading us to Himself and showing us His kindness and compassionate mercy in each and every moments. The Lord has done all these for us, for our salvation. If not for everything that He had done, we would have perished and been condemned to eternal damnation and destruction, but thanks to His generous intervention and love, God has rescued us and provided us with the assurance of new and everlasting life, a blessed existence with Him in His Holy Presence.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, the continuation of the discourse in the past few days regarding the coming of the Saviour or Messiah of God. The Lord promised His people through His prophets and messengers, particularly through the prophet Isaiah, of the coming of His deliverance and salvation to all of His people. The Lord has not forgotten those whom He cared about, and would send to them His help through His Messiah, Who is in fact His own beloved Son, Incarnate in the flesh, Our Lord Jesus Christ. This same Messiah or Saviour would endure the worst beatings and sufferings on our behalf, the worst hardships and trials, all to give us the sure path to eternal life and liberation from our sins. Through His Son, the Lord led us to a new path by which He would bring us back to Him, guiding us as a most loving Shepherd.

He came to us, calling on us, His lost sheep, to follow Him and to embrace the fullness of His love, reminding us not to harden our hearts and minds any longer, and be willing to embrace Him wholeheartedly, His loving kindness and generous mercy. Then, He did all these by exposing Himself to all the wickedness of the world and all the trials that He had to bear as part of His journey. In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the account of the conversion between the Lord and His disciples during the time of the Last Supper, at which time He revealed what would happen to Him, how He would be betrayed by one of those who were closest to Him, and how He would also be abandoned and left behind by His other disciples and followers. It was there that the Lord highlighted to all those who were listening to Him, what He would have to go through in order to fulfil the will of His heavenly Father perfectly and completely.

Judas Iscariot had already plotted against the Lord, his own Master, by allowing the temptations of the devil to sway and mislead him down the path of wickedness, as he gave in to the temptations of his greed and attachments of worldly desires. He has often embezzled much funds from the common funds of the Lord and the disciples, taking advantage of his responsibility as the treasurer of the group. Judas Iscariot allowed himself to be swayed by the temptations of those money and worldly attachments, and thus, led him to walk the path that Satan had guided him, to approach the chief priests and to plot with them in betraying his own master, for a sum of thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. He betrayed and abandoned the Lord for greed and desire of worldly glory, wealth and possessions, trading the assurance of eternal life and true joy for the temporary joy of the world.

It is easy then indeed for all of us to put all the blame on Judas Iscariot. It is convenient for us to point fingers at him and his wicked attitudes and deeds, but lest we forget, that everything which Judas Iscariot had done, are what we mankind had done again and again, throughout time and ages past. If we are to accuse Judas for his betrayal and wickedness, then we ought first look upon our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities to sin. If Judas Iscariot had betrayed and abandoned the Lord for money, material goods and other worldly things, is that not what we have often done ourselves, from time to time? How many of us have spent a lot of time, effort and attention on worldly pursuits, ambitions and all sorts of things that we desire in this world, ignoring and forgetting about the Lord, and doing all sorts of wicked and evil things, in our mad pursuit for those worldly matters?

That is why, instead of pointing fingers at Judas Iscariot and dumping all the blame on him, let us all make good use of what we have heard today from our Scripture passages to reflect on our own lives and on how we ourselves have often failed the Lord and betrayed Him for the many attractions and persuasions of this world. And as we enter more deeply into the mystery and immersing ourselves into our Lord’s Passion, His suffering, death and resurrection during this Holy Week, let us all therefore remember first of all God’s love for us made manifest to us in the person of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who has shown us the genuine face of God’s Love, made tangible and real for us. Let us reflect on our fallen state and failures, our faults and wickedness which have prevented us from coming towards the Lord and attain full reconciliation with Him.

Let us all therefore take heed from the downfall of Judas Iscariot as a reminder for each and every one of us so that we may turn away from the path of worldliness and desire, unhealthy attachments and ambitions, which had led so many of our predecessors to their downfall. Instead, we should deepen our humility and learn to resist the temptations of pride, ego and desire, and guard ourselves well, lest the devil may strike at us and make us to be enslaved by sin. This Holy Week we are all reminded that God has done so much for us, to call us out from the darkness, and to bring us to the path of His love, truth and righteousness. But, what have we done to embrace God and His love? Have we spent the time and the opportunities given to us so that we may make good use of them in developing an ever better and stronger relationship with God?

May the Lord continue to guide us all and may He encourage us to live ever more worthily in His Presence. May He continue to show us the path forward, filled with His love and grace, and may He help us to persevere amidst this world full of darkness and many temptations and pressures all around us, that we may always be strong and courageous to resist those temptations and pressures, striving to lead a life truly holy and worthy of the Lord. May God bless us all in our every good works and efforts, and may He bless us especially during this upcoming Easter Triduum, that in whatever we do to immerse ourselves in all the celebrations and commemorations, we may continue to glorify Him by our every actions, words and deeds. Amen.

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