Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Lord through the Scriptures reminding us all about the opposition that those who are faithful to God has to experience through life, and we are going to focus more and more on this theme as we approach the beginning of the Holy Week of the Passion, suffering and death of Our Lord, which will be in just about more than a week’s time.
In the first reading today, we heard the passage from the Book of Wisdom relating to us how there were a lot of opposition against the faithful and against all the servants of God. The Book of Wisdom is a book that focuses on much of the internal thoughts and deliberations of the people, and in today’s segment, we focus on the thoughts that went in the minds of those who persecuted the prophets and the messengers of the Lord.
And we see the kinds of wickedness and stubbornness present in the minds of those people who refused to believe in the prophets and in the messages of truth they brought with them. They plotted against the faithful ones of God simply because they refused to let go of the pride, ego and the greed within their hearts and minds. They took it personally that those prophets and messengers had criticised them and the way they lived their lives.
This is parallel to what the Lord Jesus mentioned and spoke before the people in our Gospel passage today. At that time, as the time was coming close to the moment when Jesus was about to be betrayed and handed over to His enemies, the oppositions against Him among the priests, the scribes, the Pharisees and all others who saw Him as their rival and as a dangerous influence were increasing rapidly.
And this is where unfortunately, the pride of men came in between them and the ability to welcome the truth of God. They were doubting the truth that the prophets and eventually, Christ Himself revealed because they thought of themselves as being holders and owners of the real truth, as they perceived themselves as being better, more educated and even more worthy than the ones who have come speaking the truth of God before them.
That was why they refused to listen, as they hardened themselves and their mindset on what they thought were the right ways and attitudes to do. They viewed the words of the prophets and the Lord Jesus as dangerous threats and perhaps even falsehoods from their point of view. That was why they even refused to allow the truth of God to enter into their minds, and continued to do what they thought was right, even when they were actually wrong and committing sins.
Today as we heard all of these, we are reminded that each and every one of us may have been like the Pharisees, the priests, the teachers of the Law and all those who have oppressed the prophets and the Lord Himself. We may have refused to listen to the words of the Lord that He spoke deep within our hearts and minds, and closing the doors of our hearts and minds to Him. We are often so preoccupied with the many worldly matters and concerns that we do not allow God and His truth to get through to us.
Unless we open our hearts and minds, by putting aside ego and pride, desire and greed from all things, by humbling ourselves before the Lord and by realising that each and every one of us are not perfect in our ways and in our thoughts, we will likely not be able to change our ways and as such, continuing to sin, and getting more and more distant from God as time passes by. There is a need for us to reorientate and change our direction in life, so that we may find a new way and path in life, one that leads to the Lord.
Today, all of us are also called to follow the good examples set by St. Vincent Ferrer, in how he devoted his life to the good service of God, travelling to many places and preaching the truth about God to the people in various places. St. Vincent Ferrer helped many people to turn themselves to the Lord, and was very generous with his work among the poor and orphans, caring for the need of the people of God.
Through all these, we are all reminded that we need to have a profound change in attitude and approach in life. And during this season of Lent, we are called to turn away from sin, and to die to our human pride, greed, desire and all the things that have been preventing us from being able to come closer to God. We are reminded through the call to repentance, that each and every one of us are sinful and are in need of healing from God.
Let us all turn away from sin, and let us all refocus our attention to God from now on. May the Lord be our guide, and may He continue to bless us and by His encouragement, may He help us always to overcome the many temptations and challenges in this life. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.