Monday, 11 March 2019 : 1st 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 penitential period of Lent, we are reminded through the Scripture passages of the need for each one of us to be righteous in all of our actions and deeds, as we are all to be judged by our own actions and all of our deeds or misdeeds at the end of time. This was the core message of the Scriptures, a clear reminder to us to turn away from sin and be righteous.

In today’s Gospel passage we heard of the Last Judgment as detailed by the Lord Himself to His disciples, in which at the appointed time, God will gather all of His creatures, all mankind from the first man to the last, and assemble them all before Him, dividing them between the righteous and the wicked based on their actions and all the things that they have committed in life, as well as whatever they have not done in the opportunities which have been given to them.

Those who have not listened to the word of God, or acted in ways that He has shown us, as He made it clear before His people in our first reading today, taken from the Book of Deuteronomy, these will be placed among those who will be condemned because of their own sins. It is ultimately not God Who wants to condemn those who have been sinful and wicked, but rather, they themselves who voluntarily rejected God’s love.

In the passage from the Book of Deuteronomy, God spoke clearly before His people of what He expected from each and every one of them in their actions and deeds in life. They were expected to act justly towards one another, not to oppress others or cause sufferings to those who they encounter in life, not to slander others or gossip, or to cause pain and difficulties just for the sake of our own selfish desires.

Failing to do this means that the people have not been obedient to the ways of the Lord, and they sinned because they disobeyed God, His will and what He had taught them to do, as instead of putting their trust in God, they rather placed their trust in their own flawed, biased and unfair judgments. That is why we see so much suffering in our world today, because many of us have acted in ways that are selfish and desiring our own advantage, pleasure and joy, at the expense of others.

But, brothers and sisters in Christ, besides this, we must also keep in mind what we have heard in today’s Gospel passage, about the matter of sin caused by conscious omission of action, when we see something or an opportunity for us to act in a righteous and good way, and yet, refusing to act or to do something that is right and just. This is called the sin of omission, which all of us need to take note of.

That is what we need to be aware and be mindful of, as sin of omission is something that we ourselves may not realise, as we carry on our actions in life. We surely do not want to end up as those whom the Lord cast out from His sight just because they refused to do what is right and just, and chose willingly to ignore the plight of the suffering and the poor, the abandoned and the ostracised in their midst.

In this season of Lent, we are called to be righteous and to abandon our old ways of sin, and not to forget that we should also avoid the sin of omission. We may think that it is enough just for us to settle our own affairs and not needing to worry about others, or that as long as we are pious in life, then everything will be good and well for us. No, brothers and sisters in Christ, in this season of Lent, we are reminded yet again, that we need to extend and share our blessings with others, and care for the needs of others, especially when we are in the position of being able to do so.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, let us all grow more in our love for God and be more generous with our love and sharing towards our brethren, especially for those who are in need, so that our Lenten experience may be more wholesome, and our spiritual growth will be complete. Let us no longer be ignorant of the needs of others, but be sensitive to the sufferings of the world around us, and do what we can to love each other, just as God has shown us by His love for us. May God bless us all and our endeavours, and may He judge us to be worthy in the end, to receive the eternal glory with Him. Amen.

Monday, 11 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His Angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him; and, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your home. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.’”

“Then the righteous will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?’ The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it to Me.’”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me.’ And these will go into eternal punishments; but the just, to eternal life.”

Monday, 11 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 18 : 8, 9, 10, 15

The Law of YHVH is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The word of YHVH is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of YHVH are right : they give joy to the heart. The commandments of YHVH are clear : they enlighten the eyes.

The fear of YHVH is pure, it endures forever; the judgments of YHVH are true, all of them just and right.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart find favour in Your sight, o YHVH – my Redeemer, my Rock!

Monday, 11 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Leviticus 19 : 1-2, 11-18

YHVH spoke to Moses and said, “Speak to the entire assembly of the people of Israel and say to them : Be holy for I, YHVH, your God, am holy. Do not steal or lie or deceive one another. Do not swear falsely by My Name so as to profane the Name of your God; I am YHVH.”

“Do not oppress your neighbour or rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning. You shall not curse a deaf man nor put a stumbling block in the way of the blind; but you shall fear your God; I am YHVH.”

“Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor nor bow to the great; you are to judge your neighbour fairly so as not to share in his guilt. Do not go about as a slanderer of your people and do not seek the death of your neighbour; I am YHVH.”

“Do not hate your brother in your heart; rebuke your neighbour frankly so as not to share in his guilt. Do not seek revenge or nurture a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself; I am YHVH.”