Monday, 15 March 2021 : 4th 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 Scripture we are presented with the hope that the Lord had brought into this world with Him, the hope of eternal life and the resurrection into life. Through what we have heard in our Scripture readings today, we are reminded that if we are faithful to the Lord, we shall never be disappointed, and we shall receive the assurance of eternal life and grace from the Lord Himself.

In our first reading today we heard from the prophet Isaiah the words of the Lord speaking of the coming of a new world that will be free from all sorrow and suffering, where tears will be no more and where all will be joyful and glad again, in the presence of the Lord as contrasted with the sufferings and difficulties found in this world which have made our lives and existence to suffer. Through Isaiah the Lord wants to remind us that in Him there is hope and light beyond all those sufferings and pains.

It is that same hope and light which is reiterated once again through what we heard in our Gospel passage today. We heard the Lord healing and miraculously make whole the son of an official. In that occasion, as we heard, that the people of Nazareth and Jesus’ own hometown had just rejected Him and refused to believe in Him, but the people of Galilee welcomed Him, many of whom were pagans and those who were on the fringe of the Jewish community at the time. The Lord performed many of His miracles there in Galilee, but there were still those who refused to believe in Him, including those from His own hometown.

Then we heard of the official who came to the Lord begging Him to heal his very sick son on the verge of death. He wanted to have his son healed by the Lord having heard of His miracles and reputation. And what was remarkable is that, in this case, without the Lord Himself going and entering into the house of the man, and by simply saying the words, ‘Your son is healed’, the official’s son was healed completely the very moment that word was spoken. Yet, as he was away from his house back then, he could not have witnessed this directly.

Nonetheless, the official had faith in the Lord and believed in Him, and as he went home he heard that his son has completely recovered the moment the Lord told him that the son would be well, and he became a good believer from then on. This is a reminder for each and every one of us to have faith in God and to hold firmly in our trust and belief in Him. We must not lose faith or not believing in God just because we do not see or feel His works and wonders happening around us.

Like those people who refused to listen to and believe in the Lord, those who doubted Him and made it difficult to perform His ministry, all those people had shallow and superficial faith. And even when they had witnessed the Lord’s miracles, His works and wonders, heard His great and unsurpassed wisdom and the authority and authenticity in what He spoke and preached, their minds and hearts were still closed to God.

That is why no matter how many miracles they witnessed, how many wonders and wisdom they received, they could not come to believe the Lord and His truth. Their pride and arrogance, their stubbornness became great stumbling blocks preventing them from truly being able to attain true grace in God. As long as they did not have true and genuine faith and love for God in their hearts, this cannot happen.

This is therefore a reminder for all of us that we must trust in the Lord and put ourselves in His protection and care, and believe that He can do everything that is needed for us. Just like the official, we must learn to trust the Lord and believe in Him even if we cannot tangibly feel, see or perceive His presence and help, and even if we do not witness directly the impacts and effects of His works.

Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to the Lord and allow Him to lead the way for us forward through life? Are we capable of making this commitment, to walk with God and to journey with Him through life together despite the challenges and trials that we may face? Let us all not harden our hearts anymore and let us all open the doors of our hearts to welcome the Lord and to make Him truly the King of our hearts, allowing Him to lead us in the way and path to salvation.

May the Lord help us and be our guide through this journey, and during the remaining time of this season of Lent, let us all turn towards Him with greater love, devotion and faith in Him, and let us purge from ourselves the corruption of pride and greed, the taints of sin in our hearts and minds. Let us all seek the Lord with ever greater humility and commit ourselves to the Lord with renewed zeal and vigour. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 15 March 2021 : 4th Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 4 : 43-54

At that time, when the two days Jesus spent with the Samaritans were over, He left for Galilee. Jesus Himself said that no prophet is recognised in his own country. Yet the Galileans welcomed Him when He arrived, because of all the things which He had done in Jerusalem during the Festival, and which they had seen. For they, too, had gone to the feast.

Jesus went back to Cana of Galilee, where He had changed the water into wine. At Capernaum there was an official, whose son was ill, and when he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and asked Him to come and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Jesus said, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe!” The official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” And Jesus replied, “Go, your son lives!”

The man had faith in the word that Jesus spoke to him, and went his way. As he was approaching his house, his servants met Him, and gave him the good news, “Your son has recovered!” So he asked them at what hour the child began to recover, and they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday, at about one o’clock in the afternoon.”

And the father realised that was the time when Jesus had told him, “Your son lives!” And he became a believer, he and all his family. Jesus performed this second miraculous sign when He returned from Judea to Galilee.”

Monday, 15 March 2021 : 4th Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 29 : 2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12a and 13b

I extol You, o Lord, for You have rescued me; my enemies will not gloat over me. O Lord, You have brought me up from the grave, You gave me life when I was going to the pit.

Sing to the Lord, o you His saints, give thanks and praise to His holy Name. For His anger lasts but a little while, and His kindness all through life. Weeping may tarry for the night, but rejoicing comes with the dawn.

Hear, o Lord, and have mercy on me; o Lord, be my Protector. But now, You have turned my mourning into rejoicing; O Lord, my God, forever will I give You thanks.

Monday, 15 March 2021 : 4th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 65 : 17-21

I now create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind again. Be glad forever and rejoice in what I create; for I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in My people.

The sound of distress and the voice of weeping will not be heard in it any more. You will no longer know of dead children or of adults who do not live out a lifetime. One who reaches a hundred years will have died a mere youth, but the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.

They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant crops and eat their fruit.