Tuesday, 2 March 2021 : 2nd 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 called to seek the Lord with contrite heart and to seek forgiveness for our many sins before it is too late for us to do so. This season of Lent is the perfect time for us to reorganise our lives and to reflect on our lives thus far, on whether we have lived our lives in accordance to the Lord’s way or not, or whether we have strayed away from His path and fell into the sway of worldly temptations.

In our first reading today we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah at the very beginning of that Book in which the prophet Isaiah spoke of the very grim words of reality, of the Lord speaking to the rulers and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah that if they persist in their sinful and wicked ways that they would be crushed and judged to damnation by those sins. But there was also words of hope and consolation that if they were to change their ways and turn towards the Lord, they would be forgiven and be blessed by the Lord.

Contextually, when the prophet Isaiah was speaking about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, both cities as per how they were referred to were no longer existent by the time of Isaiah’s life and ministry. In truth, when the Lord spoke of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, it was a figurative reference to those cities that had been destroyed a long time before because of their wickedness, which was so infamous that Sodom and Gomorrah until today were almost synonymous to vice and evil in reference.

The Lord therefore made a mention of those two cities as a reminder to the people of Israel back then how they would end up if they continued on persisting in refusing to follow His ways and in rebelling against Him. He wanted them to repent and change their ways, and seek to be reconciled to Him or else they might face condemnation and destruction for their faults and mistakes. He did not want them to be stubborn and be lost from Him as a result.

By the time of the prophet Isaiah, the northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by the Assyrians, their cities destroyed and their home region depopulated, with most of the people brought off into exile in faraway lands of Mesopotamia and Assyria, while the foreigners were sent in to stay at where the people of God used to live in. This was therefore a stark reminder of what the Lord had just said, that should the people continue to live in sin, they would be destroyed and be condemned for those sins, much like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, and which the northern tribes of Israel had suffered.

The Lord is indeed most loving and merciful, but we must not take His love and mercy for granted. As long as we are still drawing breath, then there is still hope for each and every one of us in this world. But if we delay and tarry, wait and are indecisive, then we may come to regret not having acted earlier on and for delaying when we could have done something to bring ourselves closer to God. It is not too late for us to heed the Lord’s call, repent and change our sinful ways, before it is too late for us.

What we heard then from our Gospel passage today is a reminder for us that the great obstacle for us in the path we traverse on the way to the Lord’s salvation and grace is that of our pride and worldly desires, as the Lord told His disciples how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were entrusted with the guardianship of the Law and also the responsibility over the people had not been truly faithful in how they have lived their lives, as they were focused and concerned more over their own desires and their own prestige and status over that of others’ well-being.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in our Gospel passage today the Lord is reminding us not to give in to the temptations of pride and vanity, the desire and temptation to be important and be recognised by others, to indulge in the many pursuits of this world, the pursuit of money and happiness, of pleasure and worldly joy. Let us instead be humble and be filled with the meekness and charity in our hearts. Let us love the Lord with ever greater devotion and show that same love to our fellow brothers and sisters as well.

May the Lord continue to guide us throughout this journey of life and may He strengthen and bless us all in life, that we may truly be able to follow Him and dedicate ourselves anew to Him especially through this time of renewal and reconciliation in Lent. Let us all not be afraid and hesitant anymore to follow the Lord and His path, and be good and virtuous Christians from now on. May the Lord forgive us our sins and may He continue to love us all, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021 : 2nd Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 23 : 1-12

At that time, then Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples, “The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees have sat down on the chair of Moses. So you shall do and observe all they say, but do not do as they do, for they do not do what they say. They tie up heavy burdens and load them on the shoulders of the people, but they do not even raise a finger to move them.”

“They do everything in order to be seen by people : they wear very wide bands of the Law around their foreheads, and robes with large tassels. They enjoy the first places at feasts and reserved seats in the synagogues, and they like being greeted in the marketplace, and being called ‘Master’ by the people.”

“But you, do not let yourselves be called Master, because you have only one Master, and all of you are brothers and sisters. Neither should you call anyone on earth Father because you have only one Father, He Who is in heaven. Nor should you be called Leader, because Christ is the only Leader for you.”

“Let the greatest among you be the servant of all. For whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be made great.”

Tuesday, 2 March 2021 : 2nd Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 49 : 8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23

Not for your sacrifices do I reprove you, for your burnt offerings are ever before Me. I need no bull from your stalls, nor he-goat from your pens.

What right have you to mouth My laws, or to talk about My covenant? You hate My commands and cast My words behind you.

Because I was silent while you did these things, you thought I was like you. But now I rebuke you and make this charge against you. Those who give with thanks offerings honour Me, but the one who walks blamelessly, I will show him the salvation of God.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021 : 2nd Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 1 : 10, 16-20

Hear the warning of YHVH, rulers of Sodom. Listen to the word of God, people of Gomorrah. Wash and make yourselves clean. Remove from My sight the evil of your deeds. Put an end to your wickedness and learn to do good.

Seek justice and keep in line the abusers; give the fatherless their rights and defend the widow. “Come,” says the Lord, “let us reason together. Though your sins be like scarlet, they will be white as snow; though they be as crimson red, they will be white as wool.”

“If you will obey Me, you will eat the goods of the earth; but if you resist and rebel, the sword will eat you instead.” Truly the Lord has spoken.