Monday, 28 March 2022 : 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 Scriptures, we are all reminded to have faith in the Lord and to trust in Him and His love, His providence and ever wonderful kindness to us. We are all precious in the eyes of God and all of us will enjoy the fullness of His love and favour once again, if only we turn to Him and entrust ourselves to His loving heart. Our Lord has always loved us since the very beginning, and He wants us all to rediscover our love in Him and to put our trust in Him once again.

In our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard the reassurance from the Lord for His people as He called on them all to return to Him with faith, to be converted from their sinfulness and evil ways. He called on all of them to follow Him once again as He told them how they would enjoy the glorious wonders that await them, the vision of the new and heavenly Jerusalem, the great kingdom of God that awaits all those who are faithful to God. God would gather them all and make them His people once again.

This was important in the context that many of the people of God had been scattered by the time of the prophet Isaiah, with the downfall of the northern kingdom of Israel, in which many of the descendants of the Israelites having lived in that kingdom and after it had been destroyed by the Assyrians just shortly before the time of Isaiah, they had been scattered among the nations. Their cities and lands had been ravaged and destroyed, and they and their descendants had been uprooted from their ancestral lands and forced into bitter exile.

Thus, Isaiah’s words are reminders for all the people of God’s ever wonderful love and compassion which He extends to His beloved ones. He wants them all to return to Him. However, it was often the people themselves who stubbornly refused to follow the Lord and did not do as they had been taught and shown to do. Instead, they preferred to depend on their own strength and on worldly means, all of which led them further astray and away from God and His saving grace. Nonetheless, God was ever patient and has always called on His beloved people to turn back towards Him with repentance and love.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the miracle that happened in Capernaum in Galilee, as He healed the child of an official there. The official believed in the Lord and asked Him to make his son whole again. He had faith in the Lord Jesus, even just by hearing His words and commands, saying that his son would be well. He did not need to have the Lord coming physically to his place and make his son well again, or to see the miracle happening before his own eyes. Contextually, again this must be understood in the light of what likely had happened before, as many among the people still did not believe in the Lord after all the wonders He had shown them, particularly the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who often criticised and opposed Him.

That was why, the official’s faith in the Lord was indeed significant, as compared to the lack of faith in many others, and should serve as a reminder for all of us what it means for us to be faithful to the Lord. We must not take our faith for granted and we have to be inspired by that great faith possessed by the official who believed wholeheartedly in the Lord and in the end, truly having his son healed and made well again, even only by the mere words and proclamation of the Lord. Can we have the same faith in the Lord too, brothers and sisters in Christ?

Today as we listened to these words, we are all reminded of how we need to deepen our faith in the Lord and grow further in our relationship with Him. We are all called to return to the Lord and to follow Him wholeheartedly. God has always been generous with His love and mercy, and we should respond to His call with faith. Let us all make good use of the opportunities that He has given us especially during this season of Lent to turn back to Him and return to His loving embrace. Let us inspire one another to draw ever closer to God and commit ourselves to Him anew with love.

May the Lord help us that we may always be strong and can endure the many trials and challenges that may come our way amidst the journey of faith in our life in this world. May He empower and strengthen each one of us so that we may be ever more faithful to Him and trust in Him more, allowing Him to lead us forward through life, and be ever courageous in standing up for our faith in Him, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 28 March 2022 : 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, 28 March 2022 : 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, 28 March 2022 : 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.