Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded as we come to approach the beginning of the season of Lent tomorrow on Ash Wednesday, of the need for all of us as Christians to have a change of heart and mind, as the time of Lent is meant for us to reflect on our lives and our actions thus far, whether we have been faithful to God or whether we have been negligent in our faith.
In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. James, we heard the Apostle reminding the faithful of the need for them to purify themselves, their hearts and minds from earthly desires and greed, as he mentioned how they bickered, argued, fought and ended up in conflict over certain things they wanted and desired, and when they prayed for what they wanted, they did so with those longing and desire, the cravings that are not compatible with our Christian faith.
St. James reminded the faithful not to put their emphasis and focus on worldly matters, as he put it plainly that ‘those who seek to become the world’s friend, is an enemy of the Lord’. What St. James actually meant here in the context of his time and his audience, is that we, as Christians, must resist the temptations present in our world today, especially since we are surrounded by so much materialistic lifestyle and the glorification of power, wealth, fame, and all sorts of things that we mankind often crave for.
For as long as our attention and focus are placed on those things, we will never be able to find true peace and we will not be able to connect meaningfully with God. And the reality is that we mankind can never be satisfied with all these desires and wants. As long as we have what we want, this will lead to us desiring for even more of what we have already had, the craving and temptation that will continue to grow as time passes. That is why we should then heed what the Lord said in our Gospel passage today, that our faith must be like that of the faith of children.
What did the Lord mean by that? It is the fact that a child is still innocent and pure, and the faith that a child is the purest that there can be among us mankind. For their faith and love for God has not been affected by all sorts of worldly concerns and desires that slowly crept into our minds and hearts as we grow up and become older. The Lord wants all of us to be true in our faith, and to purify ourselves from all the unhealthy attachments and obsessions we have, for all sorts of worldly temptations.
We are called to have once again, pure, unbridled faith in God, and to love Him with all of our hearts and with all of our might. And this is what we all need to take heed of, even as we proceed through towards the season of Lent. This holy and blessed time of Lent that begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday, is the perfect opportunity for us to reorientate our lives and to rediscover the true faith and love deep within our hearts towards God. For all these while, they have been buried under layers of our worldliness, our desire, our pride and ego.
How do we then proceed, knowing that we need to get rid from ourselves all these obstacles and hindrances? During this upcoming season of Lent, let us all open ourselves to God more, allowing Him to enter into our hearts and trust in His guidance and providence for us. Let us make good use of the opportunity to be reconciled with God, by going for the Sacrament of Reconciliation to confess our sins and faults, that we may be forgiven and find peace with God.
And let us all also live up to the spirit of the Lenten season, by meaningfully practicing all the practices such as fasting and abstinence as according to the Church laws, and make good use of them to restrain our desires and wants, and deepen our relationship with God in the meanwhile by having a good and meaningful prayer life, that is opening ourselves to God and allowing Him to speak with us in the depth and silence of our hearts and minds. Let us also be more charitable towards our less fortunate brothers and sisters, that we may learn to be more selfless and to love more, rather than loving only ourselves and being selfish.
May the Lord continue to guide us throughout this upcoming season of Lent, that we may grow ever stronger in faith and that we may deepen our love for Him, and be ever more worthy of God with each and every passing moments in our lives. I would like to wish everyone, a good and most blessed and fruitful season of Lent ahead! Amen.