Friday, 18 March 2016 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, n this day we heard about the people who contested against Jesus, who doubted Him, persecuted Him and rejected Him, trying to stone Him for allegedly trying to portray Himself as God. But the truth is just that, that He is God, and He was the One Whom the prophets and the other servants of God had been proclaiming about, and Whose coming the people should have expected and welcomed with joy.

But they did not do so, and instead, they resisted Him at every turn possible, attacking Him for His revelations of truth about Himself. Indeed, what Jesus was doing was merely to dispel centuries and millennia of misinformation, twisted truths and teachings, and prejudice as well as other things that have kept the people from seeing the truth that is in our Lord Jesus Christ.

And the people of God who were living in sin did not like to be told by someone else, that they have sinned and that they need to follow the path shown by the Lord Jesus if they were to seek salvation in God. This was because of the great ego in their hearts, the reluctance and unwillingness to change themselves because others said that what they have done so far and thought was right, was actually wrong.

Thus, they persecuted the prophets and the messengers of God, whose messages they did not like and which they did not want to hear. And similarly, when the Lord Himself came into the world, save for a few who are willing to listen and to accept the word of God, the rest of them continued in their constant rebellion against God, shutting themselves, their ears and their hearts from God trying to speak to them and make them understand the truth.

And in their stubbornness, they have not just damned themselves by refusing God’s offer of salvation, but similarly, they have even caused others to be shut out from salvation, misleading one another, and ultimately, committing sin, as they had done with their ancestors, by persecuting the prophets, the messengers of God, holy men and women carrying the good works and the good news of the Lord’s salvation, and they even persecuted the Lord Himself Who loved them regardless of how they had treated Him.

In this season of Lent, as we are approaching its ending and the beginning of the Holy Week this coming Palm Sunday, let us all use the remaining time as we prepare to celebrate the upcoming greatest feast and mysteries of our faith and welcome the season of Easter, to become people who are more willing to open up ourselves to the love of God, to listen more with our ears and our hearts, the reminders from the Lord, seeking for our repentance.

Today we celebrate also the feast of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, a holy bishop and servant of God, who devoted his whole life to the service of God and His Church. From him, there are many examples that we can learn about, if we are to become ever more faithful to God and be more righteous in His sight. There are many things that we can learn from his life and from his devotion.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem was a devoted bishop who oversees the faithful in Jerusalem and beyond, caring for his flock and serving them with love and commitment. And he helped them to resist the pressure of heresy and all those who sought to undermine the Church by promoting false teachings. Those heretics tried to persecute him, and St. Cyril was even exiled a few times for his persistence in resisting such heresies, but he continued to press on hard regardless.

In the end, the faithful people of God triumphed, and all the heresies were defeated. The forces of the wicked were not able to destroy the Church and the truth found in it. And the faithful were saved from being harmed by such lies, and those who have fallen, many of them returned to the faith and to the salvation God had offered through His Church alone.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, looking at this example, let us all also seek to find the truth in God through the Church and cast aside all of our stubbornness, ego and all the things that kept us away from being truly devoted to God. Let us find ourselves the path that leads us to God, and that path is likely through penitence, self-limiting, and all the charitable acts and works that we should do, in order to limit our selfishness and grow in our loving care for others.

May God see us and all that we are doing to bring glory to His Name. May He forgive us all our sins and past trespasses, and we hope that one day God will bless us and welcome us into His eternal kingdom, granting us the inheritance and the promise He has given to all of His faithful ones. May God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.

Thursday, 17 March 2016 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Patrick, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all reminded today of the covenant which God had established first with Abraham, His faithful servant, a renewal of the covenant which He had established with mankind, and yet which they had broken when they first sinned before the Lord. Sin had broken the covenant of God with men, but God Who loves us all mankind, wanted to renew that covenant with even greater love.

When God created us mankind with love, He wanted us all to live in bliss and perfect harmony with Him in heaven, in the Gardens of Eden, to enjoy forever the company of His grace and love forevermore without end. All that He asked for, is for us all to obey Him and to love Him back just as He had loved us first. That is what is meant by a covenant, namely a two-way contract between two parties. Both parties and sides of the covenant or the agreement must obey the rules and the responsibilities attached to the covenant or else, it would no longer be in force.

Thus, what happened was that mankind was tempted by Satan, the old enemy, the evil deceiver and the rebel who was jealous against God and mankind alike, and thus decided to ruin the ones whom God had loved the most out of all creation. His intention was to ruin us just in the same way as he had been ruined by his pride and rebellion, and thus just as he was cast out of heaven, mankind too would follow him into eternal damnation. That is the sinister design that the evil one is planning for us too.

By breaking our part of the covenant, we have deemed ourselves unworthy of God’s love and grace, and thus we were cast out of Eden, and we were made to suffer the painful suffering in the world, enduring tribulations and challenges, as our immortality became one of mortality, and death would come to devour us and destroy us forever, except that, God Himself still loved us despite all of the things we had done.

And that is why, even though the covenant that God had established with Abraham had been broken many times, and always by men, for God is always forever faithful to His covenant with us, He continued to renew it and reestablish it, giving encouragement to all those who hope in Him and put their trust in Him. He shall not disappoint all those who had given themselves to His cause, for these are the ones who would inherit the covenant of God.

And thus lastly, He sent us all His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Divine Word of God, equal and inseparable part of the triune unity of our Lord, the One and only God, One in existence, but Three in Godhead and nature, Father, Son and Holy Spirit all working together as one in the attempt to reestablish a perfect and everlasting covenant once and for all, for our sake.

Indeed, to seal that everlasting covenant, and to make clear the great and infinite love which He has for all of us, He sealed His covenant not with the mere blood of animals, goats, bulls or birds, but with His own Most Precious Blood, poured down in great suffering from the cross, as our Lord Himself was made to bear the burden of everyone’s sins, and through His suffering and death, He had made everyone clean and justified, and all those who believe in Him shall receive the fullness of God’s mercy, forgiveness and love.

That is the great extent how much our Lord is willing to give of Himself when we are in need for help. As that is because, if we are to be lost to the darkness of this world, to our wickedness and all the things coming between us and God, then we are lost to God our loving Father forever. And just as fathers love their children, He loves us all too, without exception, and He wants us to be thoroughly changed for the better.

And in this season of Lent, in the remaining time we have this week and next week, let us all realise that we have so many homework to do, for us all to learn from our mistakes, learning to forgive and to be better and more devoted disciples of our Lord. There is the time for us to turn back from our sinfulness and to find our way to the truth of God and walk in His light.

And today, we celebrate the great feast day of St. Patrick of Ireland, a great bishop and missionary, whose life was dedicated to the spreading of the Gospel and the Good News of God. There are many things that we can learn from his life and from his teachings. St. Patrick was sent by the Pope to the distant country which is now known as Ireland, to bring the salvation of God to the pagan peoples living there, who have not yet heard the Word of God.

St. Patrick travelled around the island of Ireland, visiting from places to places, working with people from the kings, the nobles and to the common people. He did not have it easy, as the people ridiculed him, rejected him and even persecuted him for his efforts. But he did not give up, and he taught the people there about the faith, until eventually many of them repented from their sins and converted to the faith in God.

In one of the most famous thing attributed to him, he used the three-leaf clover as the method for him to teach about God, and explaining the difficult nature of God, just as we have discussed earlier on, God as One, but yet Three, Three and yet only One. Yes, St. Patrick used the analogy how the three-leaf clover, once a portion is taken away is no longer a clover, and yet still three leafed as it is, it constitutes only just one leaf, indivisible and yet with distinct parts.

From this, we can gain so much inspiration of what we can do. There are so many things we can do in this world, to walk in the light in the path of St. Patrick of Ireland. We should use this opportunity we have in life, not just to turn away from our sins, but also to spread the Good News of God, and help one another to reach out to the Lord our God. May we all find our path to the Lord and be brought into the life everlasting. St. Patrick of Ireland, pray for us, that we may find our path to God and remain faithful to Him. Amen.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016 : 5th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the case of the compatriots of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were the people of Israel and Judah brought into exile by the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah, bringing many of its people to exile in Babylon, where they would again live in foreign lands, as it was during the time of their slavery in Egypt.

And the suffering did not end there, as not only that they suffered material and financial difficulties, with many being slaves and servants to the Babylonians, but they also often had no right on their own, even to believe in and to worship the God that is their God, Who is the One Who have cared for them, nourished them and kept them safe as a people He had chosen and loved.

God has loved them, but they have not been faithful to Him, and they spurned His love. It was only when their cities had been destroyed, their places ransacked, their beloved ones and they themselves carted off to slavery that they repented their sins, and realised what kind of mistake they had made. They have lost their lands promised to them and to their ancestors because of their own wrongdoing.

But as long as they remained faithful to God, God would be with them, for His love for us mankind is truly great indeed, and no sinner who have committed to abandon their sins and wickedness He would turn away. He will embrace all those who have sinned, that is all of us, and returning to Him and accepting His mercy and forgiveness, God will renew with us the covenant He had made and the love and grace He had shown His faithful ones.

Today’s readings show the importance of truly being faithful to the Lord, that even amidst persecution and difficulties we encounter of having been one who kept our faith in God, and disliked and hated by the world, we can still be faithful to the Lord as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had been. They, like Daniel, had been among the chief servants of Nebuchadnezzar due to their great wisdom and intellect, but like all other people and servants of the king, the will of the king is law, and to go against it warranted certain death.

They had clear choices there, either to abandon their God and surely to receive the praise of many, the favour and graces of the king, but condemning their souls to the eternal fire of hell, or to remain resolute and steadfast even in the face of suffering and death, that they remain in good graces of God and remained in His favour? They could have chosen either one, each with their own consequences, but they chose God and stayed true to their faith, and God saved them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today is a lesson for us all that especially in this time of Lent, as we practice fasting and abstinence, there will be many temptations and things that are trying to lure us away from God and from our salvation, either through trickery or through even persuasion, violence and threat of painful death, but if we give in to this for the sake of gaining the approval of others and the world, know that it may not be very good for us in our prospect of the life that is to come.

Let us all reflect on our lives, our deeds and actions, all the things that we have done so far. Have we kept our faith in God faithfully in all things? Have we done so even though things are not favourable to us if we do so? Or have we been trying to placate the world while we want to remain faithful to our God? Or worse, if we profess ourselves to be His followers, and yet we neither believe in or act in the way favourable to our God?

May God help us to find our way to Him, and to persevere in the face of challenges and temptations that are trying to lure us away from Him. Let us all help one another to reach out to the Lord, and may all of us be blessed and remain in His favour, that one day we will be worthy of the glories of heaven. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016 : 5th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard and witnessed the salvation of the Lord, the help and the liberation which He is bringing to all of us mankind, His beloved ones, that He may free us from our afflictions, and that through Him we may have true life in us and do not perish, but instead gaining for ourselves the graces of life eternal.

Today we heard about how the Israelites were punished when they disobeyed the Lord in the desert, as they went through the long journey on the way to the lands promised to them and their ancestors. They grumbled against the Lord and made complaints after complaints against Him, protesting about many things, and not even once giving thanks to God through Whom they have received so many great blessings.

For who else in this world, past, present and future, would ever and will ever see the blessings that God gave His people Israel when He led them through the desert? He gave them clear and sweet water to drink in abundance, springing from the earth itself, when they walked around thirsty and parched in their throats. And when they were hungry, He gave them the bread of the angels itself, sharing in the feast of heaven, and even with large birds He made to fly to them, that they might have enough to eat and be satisfied.

And yet with all that, the people of God did not feel that they have had enough. Instead, they clamoured for more, and allowed themselves to be corrupted by the wickedness of their desires and by the weaknesses of their flesh. And that was how they fell into the temptation of sin and were condemned. But God Who loved all of them did not give up on them.

We saw how even though they have wronged Him, He still gave them a chance, giving them through Moses His servant, the hope of redemption and salvation, with the bronze serpent He let the people saw the hope He promised them, the way out of punishment and suffering, raised up high between the heavens and the earth, as a prelude to the true salvation He was bringing to all through Jesus.

Yes, our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins, and in doing so, He bore upon Himself the punishment that should have been intended for us. He gave Himself out of love for us, so that we may not perish but live a new life of hope in Him. This is what He has promised to all those who are faithful to Him, and those who trusts in Him and puts their faith in Him shall not be disappointed.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this time and season of Lent, a season of renewal, of forgiveness and reconciliation, let us reorientate ourselves, and let us all refocus our efforts and actions in life, so that we may become ever more righteous followers of our God, not just in words alone, but also in real deeds and actions. Let us turn our back from our sins and stop walking on towards destruction and damnation in hell.

Let us all embrace the love, mercy and forgiveness our Lord offers us, so that we who believe in Christ, and who look upon Him present in our midst and through the Eucharist, let us all be made whole again, pure, blameless and worthy of eternal life in Him. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 14 March 2016 : 5th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the long story from the Old Testament, of the encounter between Daniel, the faithful servant of God in the land of exile in Babylon, with another exile, Susanna, a very pious and Godfearing woman, who refused to live in sin and to compromise her own faith to God. And we heard how she was tested when the two elders entrusted with rulership and judgment over the people, wanted to sin with her, and she refused to listen to them or to give in to them.

And even though she had to go through even the risk of death for refusing the attempts of the two elders, but she kept herself strong and deeply anchored in the knowledge that God would come to the rescue of those who placed their trust and faith in Him. And indeed, God did not abandon her to die at the hands of those who would bring her to harm. She was framed and blamed for something that she did not commit, and God would not let His faithful ones to suffer and die in such a manner.

And thus He aroused His Spirit inside Daniel, and made him to speak up and stand up for the sake of the beleaguered Susanna. And in the end, as we heard, the wisdom of God made clear to all through Daniel, managed to overturn all the wicked plots and conspiracies, and all the shrouds of lies that the wicked elders had put in place in order to safeguard themselves at the expense of an innocent, an excuse to get them out of the responsibility for their own sins.

There are indeed a few lessons that we can bring away from all that we have heard today. First of all, it is a reaffirmation by the Lord, a very strong and firm reassurance to us that all those who placed their trust and keep our faith in Him, and who walk faithfully and with commitment upon His ways. We shall not falter and fail, as long as we are faithful to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we put our trust in our human strength alone, we shall fail. Susanna did not worry about whether she could endure all the persecutions by herself, as she was not alone, and God was with her in all of her tribulations. And in fact, God was fighting for her and through His mighty works, He condemned the wicked who conspired against her and tried to push her to sin against her will.

And this brings us to the next thing that we ought to learn. This is that we should be responsible over whatever it is that had been entrusted to us. If we have been entrusted with power and with care over others, our fellow men, then we really should not abuse such power and use it for our own benefit. This is one place where many of us mankind have failed to do, and many of us fell into sin because of this.

The two elders were unable to restrain themselves and they gave in to their lust, their heart’s desire for earthly and worldly pleasures and gain for themselves, even if others were to suffer because of them. In this season of Lent, we practice to control our urges and desires, holding back our greed and the desires of the flesh, so as not to sin further and to be more righteous in all of our actions.

But more importantly, those two elders used their position as the judges and rulers over the people, the position of leadership and great esteem over the people to gain for themselves such wicked pleasures, trying to even cover up their tracks by condemning others who were innocent, with false accusations that brings about death and suffering.

This is a lesson for all of us, that with power and privilege comes responsibility and great burden for us to bear. We must use power responsibly, and we have to realise that whatever God had entrusted to us and given to us, they are nothing more than to bring all of us closer to Him, and to help one another in our lives in this world, and not to make ourselves better at the expense of others.

We have to realise that in this season of Lent, it is a time of great renewal for us, that if we have once allowed ourselves to be corrupted by power and by whatever have been given to us, now we should open ourselves to the opportunity to love and to care for one another, and to give of ourselves freely to those who need our help, especially the poor, the sick, the unloved and all those rejected by the world.

May God help us in our path that we may persevere through the temptations of life, and may we be able to reach out to Him and be saved in the redemption and forgiveness which He had offered us. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 13 March 2016 : Fifth Sunday of Lent, Third Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Supreme Pontiff and Vicar of Christ (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings spoke clearly to us the fact, the reality and the truth that in God alone there is hope, there is life, and there is the path to our future, and elsewhere, we can only find death, destruction and eternal desolation away from God and His light. In God alone can we find the help and the rescue from the darkness and the sins that are swallowing us whole and trying to pull us deep into the damnation of hell.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God does not desire the destruction and damnation of His most beloved creation, that is all of us mankind. He wants all of us to be redeemed from our sins, be freed from all the chains and bonds of sin that separated us from Him and be made righteous and just, worthy once again to be in His presence and to receive from Him the gift of everlasting life with Him forever.

And He does not blame us or condemn us for our sins, as long as we are willing to change ourselves and be freed from those sins that are plaguing us. God is in fact giving us plenty of opportunities for us to turn away from our sinful ways and to reject all forms of wickedness and evil, and follow a new path and a new life founded on faith and love for the Lord.

In the Gospel reading we heard today, we heard how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were working together to trap Jesus and to find blame in Him so that they might arrest Him. And therefore they brought upon Him an adulterous woman who had been caught in the act hoping that Jesus would side with her and thus they would find a reason to frame Him, or if He sided with the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law instead, then they could discredit His teachings as an attempt to usurp their authority and as a mere copycat.

But Jesus did not entertain their attempts to trap Him, and He did not budge even though these people stubbornly tried to disturb and undermine His works openly in many occasions. And He plainly and simply mentioned a basic and simple truth, that many of them failed to see themselves, that they are all sinners, big or small, young or old, without exception. And as sinners as they were, they had no right to judge or condemn others for their sins, because then they themselves would be judged according to their own sins.

And this is why when Jesus told the people wanting to stone the adulterous woman, that the one who is without sin may cast the first stone, everyone eventually left the place, beginning from the older one and last to leave were the younger ones. The more years we live in this world, the more sins, unfaithfulness, wickedness and vile things we have committed before God and men alike.

And just as the adulterous woman was condemned to suffering and painful death, certainly the people wanting to stone her to death also felt the pangs and pain in their hearts knowing that for all that they have committed in life, either openly or secretly, they would be judged in the same manner, and thus fear appeared in their minds and they fled, knowing that if they judged her and cast the stone at her, then they would just add even more sins to themselves, and that would make them to be judged even more.

This is an important lesson for all of us, that no matter how wicked someone we know are, we should not be quick to judge and to dismiss that person as hopeless. We should remember that we ourselves were without hope and were certain of damnation before the Lord Jesus came into the world and showed us that there is indeed a path out of the darkness and into the light.

And just as the Lord had shown mercy on all of us, then we too, imperfect and sinful as we are, all the more that we should show mercy on one another too. God had shown mercy on His people, even though they were sinners, dirty, corrupted and unworthy in the presence of He Who is perfect and all good. And He did not give up on us, no matter how far it was that we have fallen into sin.

But are we all realising what we must do in order to accept God’s rich offer of mercy? He has given us so many opportunities and paths through which we may find our way to Him, but many of us have yet to realise the urgency of such a move as is necessary for us to attain salvation and liberation from the fate of destruction that is awaiting all those who are still living in the state of sin.

We cannot be passive or be ignorant about our sins, and we have to do something if we are going to free ourselves from the trap of sin. This means that we have to take heed of what Jesus had said to the adulterous woman, that while He does not condemn her but she must sin no more. If she continues to live in sin and refuse to change her ways, then eventually she has to bear consequences for her sins and be responsible and accountable for it.

That is why in this season of Lent, the Church is helping us to control ourselves and to make ourselves more disciplined in our lives. Through fasting we control the desires of our body, by learning to control our desire for food and for pleasures of the flesh. And through abstinence, we limit and control the urges our bodies, our minds and our hearts have, to do things that are not in accordance with the Lord.

In the Gospel which is read today when there are catechumens or candidates preparing to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, it is about the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, when Jesus our Lord brought him back from death into life, and restored hope to his sisters, Martha and Mary, and brought joy to many others. Jesus showed clearly in this example, how He is the Lord of life, the Source of all living things.

Therefore, if we only put our trust in our own human strength, in our desires and in the strength of our bodies and minds, we will surely fail, for without God, we are truly nothing and without true life. And when we sin, we make ourselves go further away from the Lord, and we distance ourselves from the life that we can only gain in Him. And if we do not turn around, we shall be lost forever, and endure eternal death and suffering in hell.

In this season of Lent, thus, let us all reflect on our own lives, on our actions, words and deeds. Have we been faithful to God in all things? And have we devoted our time to God and obey Him in all of His laws and commandments? This means that have we been truly faithful in our actions, through which we can bring good things or pain and suffering for others? It is the choice that we now have, and the opportunity we cannot afford to miss.

Let us all renew our faith and commit ourselves to God once again, and let us turn ourselves into a new life, that with the approaching celebration of Easter, we may celebrate it with full vigour and with full faith in our Lord, and be made righteous by our faith, and by our actions and deeds that validate that faith we have in God. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 12 March 2016 : 4th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we heard today the opposition which the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law and the elders of the people presented against Jesus, as they tried to convince everyone that Jesus was not the Messiah, that He was a fraud and a heretic, and that He had blasphemed against God by His many teachings that seemingly ran contrary to what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had uphold.

Of course it did not mean that all the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were wicked and without good. It did not mean that all the Pharisees were adamantly against Jesus, as the Gospel passage itself reminded us that Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees who believed in Jesus and accepted His teachings. And Joseph of Arimathea was another one of these Pharisees who also believed in Him.

But this opposition against Jesus came about not so much because of what Jesus had taught, as compared to what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law perceived about Him. They saw Him as a rival and a threat to their influence, because what He taught the people seemed to be different from what they were teaching the people, and He rebuked them in various occasions for their supposed lack of true faith.

The Pharisees, the elders and the teachers of the Law were at the pinnacle of the hierarchy of the society of the people of God at the time, they were the ones who interpreted the Law for the people, and they determined how the people would come and worship, and managed the rites and the celebrations at the Temple, regulating all forms of rules in the society.

In such a privileged position and in such a position of honour, it can be easily seen how they were gathering together heaps upon heaps of praises and honour, and therefore, as what is in our human nature, we tend to gloat in such pleasures, being pleased and satisfied by those adulation, and therefore, we grew in our ego and pride, and the same thing happened to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.

And thus, they were not willing to let go of all the honour, the fame, the position of honour they have achieved in the world, to listen to the truth of Jesus speaking to them and all the people. They shut the doors of their heart tight and they refused to listen to the Lord speaking to them. To them, the Lord Jesus was someone Who came to destroy all that they have gained in the world.

And this was why the Lord was so critical on His criticism at them. These people have misused and abused their authority, and they have even misled the people of God into the wrong path. And instead of guiding the people of God to come closer to Him through a greater understanding of God’s laws and commandments, and through a greater desire to love the Lord, they have oppressed the people with numerous obligations that were really unnecessary.

It is a lesson for all of us then, as we progress through this season of Lent, for us to reexamine ourselves and our actions. Have we been truly faithful in God, and have we been walking in His path all along? This is the time for us to realise how that there is still so many things we can do to prove our faith to the Lord. We should not follow the path of the Pharisees who placed themselves first before God, and who sought to satisfy their own needs first before obeying God.

Let us all learn through fasting and abstinence, the habit to resist our own selfishness, our pride, our hubris, our greed and all the things that are pulling at us and tempting us to abandon our path towards the Lord. Let us all put the effort to become ever closer to the Lord and to be more faithful to Him. Let us follow Him with all of our heart and find our way to His grace, the life everlasting. Amen.