Thursday, 15 March 2018 : 4th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we witnessed through the Scripture passages, the righteous anger of God at the sins of His people Israel, as we heard in our first reading today from the Book of Exodus. The people of Israel had not obeyed the Lord and committed a grave sin when they betrayed God and built for themselves an idol made from gold, a golden calf, even as God gave them His laws and commandments through Moses.

In His anger, He wanted to destroy them all just as He had done before with the wicked and sinful sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, who sinned before God greatly, and the Great Flood came over them all, with only Noah and his descendants surviving the great catastrophe. But God had made a Covenant with Noah and his descendants, that He would no longer destroy man with a flood as He had done. And then, He made a renewed Covenant with Abraham and his descendants.

The Covenant God made with Abraham spoke of the blessings He would give to Abraham and his descendants. They would be innumerable and great beyond everything else. And in His anger at their sins, God wanted to destroy them as it was just for them, but God stayed His anger, because His servant Moses reminded Him and prevented Him from doing such a deed.

Ultimately, even though God was furious at the sins and wickedness of His people, but in truth, He loved each and every one of them, those of whom He had created out of love. God has no need for our love, as He Himself had been perfect in love, but He wanted to share that love, and that was why He created us all, to be the recipients of His wonderful love.

Yet, unfortunately, it was our stubbornness, our refusal to obey the Lord and our preference for our own sinful and mistaken ways that had led to the waywardness we have committed in life, just as the Israelites had done in their own, from the establishment of the golden calf, to their many other disobediences and refusal to follow the commands of the Lord through Moses and the other servants of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord has given us so many good things, numerous blessings and love, as He had shown us through many generations, and through many opportunities He had granted us. However, it is we mankind who often refused His offer of love and mercy. We stubbornly clung to our ways of sin and our attachment to worldly matters and goods, which prevented us from truly being able to obey Him.

That is why Jesus Our Lord was also furious and angry at the indignation shown by many of His people, when He came into this world, shown by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, those who stubbornly rejected His truth just because of their arrogance, ego and all the things that were afraid to lose out to Jesus, Whom they saw as a rival to their power and authority.

Let us all not walk in their path, but instead, chart a new path in our life, if we have fallen into sin and disobedience as our predecessors had done. Let us look upon the examples of our holy saints and martyrs, those who dared and were courageous to change their way of life, changing their sinful past into a renewed life filled with faith in God. Many of them endured sufferings and difficulties for those, but they gained a greater reward in God.

May all of us be reunited and reconciled with God, as we draw ever closer to Him. May all of us seek to be righteous and faithful in all things. May all of us be blessed and may we draw closer to Him, day after day, all the days of our life. May God be with us all, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 : 4th Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 5 : 31-47

At that time, Jesus said to the Jews, “If I bore witness to Myself, My testimony would be worthless. But Another One is bearing witness to Me, and I know that His testimony is true when He bears witness to Me. John also bore witness to the truth when you sent messengers to him, but I do not seek such human testimony; I recall this for you, so that you may be saved.”

“John was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were willing to enjoy his light. But I have greater evidence than that of John – the works which the Father entrusted to Me to carry out. The very works I do bear witness : The Father has sent Me. Thus He Who bears witness to Me is the Father Who sent Me. You have never heard His voice and have never seen His likeness; therefore, as long as you do not believe His messenger, His word is not in you.”

“You search in the Scriptures, thinking that in them you will find life; yet Scripture bears witness to Me. But you refuse to come to Me, that you may live. I am not seeking human praise; but I have known that love of God is not within you, for I have come in My Father’s Name and you do not accept Me. If another comes in his own name, you will accept him. As long as you seek praise from one another, instead of seeking the glory which comes from the only God, how can you believe?”

“Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father. Moses himself, in whom you placed your hope, accuses you. If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

Thursday, 15 March 2018 : 4th Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 105 : 19-20, 21-22, 23

They made a calf at Horeb and worshipped the molten image. They exchanged the glory of God for the image of a bull that eats grass.

They forgot their Saviour God, Who had done great things in Egypt, wonderful works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Sea of Reeds.

So He spoke of destroying them, but Moses, His chosen one, stood in the breach before Him to shield them from destruction.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 : 4th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Exodus 32 : 7-14

Then YHVH said to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them and have made for themselves a molten calf; they have bowed down before it and sacrificed to it and said : ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you out of Egypt.'”

And YHVH said to Moses, “I see that these people are a stiff-necked people. Now just leave Me that My anger may blaze against them. I will destroy them, but of you I will make a great nation.” But Moses calmed the anger of YHVH, his God, and said, “Why, o YHVH, should Your anger burst against Your people whom You brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with a mighty hand?”

“Let not the Egyptians say : ‘YHVH brought them out with evil intent, for He wanted to kill them in the mountains and wipe them from the face of the earth.’ Turn away from the heat of Your anger and do not bring disaster on Your people. Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the promise You Yourself swore : I will multiply Your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land I spoke about I will give to them as an everlasting inheritance.”

YHVH then changed His mind and would not yet harm His people.