(Genesis 22: 1-2, 9-13, 15-18 Romans 8: 31-34 Mark 9: 2-10)
Following in the footsteps of Jesus may seem a bit burdensome with so much pain and suffering. But this knowledge comes with the fact that we glory in the mortal part of our beings more than in the spiritual part. Our mortal components are full of instincts which do not do well with coping up with pain and suffering, and therefore strive to do away with anything that brings about a state of discomfort to the body. For this reason, many of us take every precaution to avoid any situation that will bring onto our bodies pain and suffering. Some people even go to the extra length to avoid this by selling out their very souls for anything in a bid to have some corporal comfort. But, Jesus would ask a very simple question: what will profit us to gain the world and lose our souls in the process?
The discipline of Lent is just a cue for us to take when it comes to making a choice between spending more time in keeping the mortal body healthier than the eternal soul. Lent signifies the brevity of our earthly life which is full of pain and suffering so that we might enjoy the fullness of happiness in heaven when we have lived through this short period of pain and suffering with full trust in Christ. Our moment of pain and suffering should not be seen as a time of punishment; rather, it must be considered as a period of penance for our sins and the sins of the world as we carry in our bodies what is lacking in the body of Jesus. At the same time, our moment of pain and suffering should be considered as a time for us to prepare seriously for our final exit from this world when we shall let go all that we cherish and cling to so much that we even forget about God. We must see any bodily displeasure which even affects our total beings as a way to master our sinfulness and conquer our pride. We always forget that we must practice humility in order to acknowledge our weaknesses which lay claim to the strength of God who never forsakes us, if even we are in the direst of straits. Cast your burden unto Jesus with trust, and he will rescue and free your soul!
(Genesis 9: 8-15 1 Peter 3: 18-22 Mark 1: 12-15)
“God of mercy and compassion, look with pity upon me”, as one of the commonest penitential songs based on the story of the Prodigal Son, is so apt for this season of Lent. By all standards, we have allowed ourselves to be enslaved by sin because we cave in so easily to the temptations that tend to give immediate but illusive pleasure to the flesh. But, as we know, the flesh which is mortal should not be given so much attention more than what we give to the immortal soul of ours. Therefore, we ought to take this period of Lent with all the seriousness we can to make amends of our sense of religiosity by way of being in sync with our God and Creator, relying on his mercy and compassion.
God, who is full of mercy and compassion, would rather see us live in him instead of being dead in our sinfulness. Since the fall of Man, God has always taken the initiative to be with us so that we might have life. This is wrought through the various Covenants he establishes: God takes the initiative to “come and meet with” us, as the word covenant etymologically means. He has even given us a New and Eternal Covenant, Jesus Christ, who takes away the sins of the world so that those who surrender themselves to him in his death through baptism may also share his glorious life. Here is where our free wills come to play. It is better to bet on a sure and lasting security with our free wills than to bet on some flimsy illusions that always have negative outcomes. The invitation to come to the Lord and have life is open to all; those who respond with trust will enjoy the benefits, but those who ignore the covenantal invitation will have themselves to be blamed. So, today, do not harden your hearts, but heed the voice of the Lord and come to him.
(Leviticus 13: 1-2, 44-46 1 Corinthians 10: 31—11: 1 Mark 1: 40-45)
The enterprise of evangelization and catechesis can be compared to a journey. This journey ends with our earthly pilgrimage. Therefore, there is no actual limit of time set to it except the time given to us to live here on earth. Some of us may ask a very genuine question as to whether or not we are there yet. The answer is a definitive No. We are not there yet; much is needed on our part to check on the nature of the roads we are treading. The condition of the vehicle used for this journey also needs some checks and tweaks. Even our very selves need to be reexamined to ascertain our fitness level apt for this journey. By all standards, we fail the ultimate test. We ought to turn toward the Master Physician and Mechanic, Jesus Christ, for his healing power through his gift of the Holy Spirit. That is what the season of Lent is designed for us to achieve.
Through a fruitful season of Lent, which starts with Ash Wednesday, we are offered the opportunity to publicly announce and denounce the dire and serious problems we have with ourselves, our vehicles and the routes of the enterprise of evangelization and catechesis. We turn and cry out to the Lord for help so that we might successfully bring this journey to a positive fruitful conclusion. The standard with which to measure how we are doing on the journey is calibrated by the degree of love we have for our God and neighbors. This degree of love is devoid of any selfishness on our part; God becomes the center and the end of this divine journey of pure love. Anything short of this renders this journey null and void; the journey must then be reoriented with the necessary tools and maintenance so that we shall all arrive safely and successfully when all comes to an end in heaven. Without Christ at the center of this journey of ours, we shall get lost and shall achieve nothing after our exile here on earth.
(Job 7: 1-4, 6-7 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19, 22-23 Mark 1: 29-39)
The various vocations of Christ require answers from mere mortal and sinful human beings. Despite our frailties, we are chosen to be kings, prophets and priests in this present age so that we might be the very instruments to emit the light and life of Christ. Knowing that we are so fragile and sinful in this enterprise of carrying out a strong and holy mission, we ought to seek help from the very person who has sent us out on the same mission. This seeking is done through a life of prayer, as Jesus himself would withdraw from the public from time to time to pray in order to carry out the work of the Father. It is only by prayer that we can control the dictate and weight of the desires of the flesh that in most times become a bane to our abilities to proclaim Christ as the light and life of the world.
The joke that no matter what and how we respond to Christ our selfishness and freedom will be taken away from us is true and has a very serious note to it. Whether one marries, stays single, or becomes a priest, there will always be a yoke of Christ hanging so heavily on the neck. This is caused by the exercise of our roles as kings in this world as stewards of God’s creation in an atmosphere of leadership and mentorship. By this we show others the true way to the life and light of Christ as a means of becoming martyrs or witnesses of Christ’s love and truth. But, to reach this level of an achievement, one needs to be honest with being in a constant communion with Christ who is the master of the vineyard into which we have all been sent as a result of our positive response to his calling. Giving true witness to Christ in the world is a sure bet for our salvation and that of many souls.
(Deuteronomy 18: 15-20 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35 Mark 1K 21-28)
As humans, we understand human language saturated with gestures and actions better than any transcendental and abstract means of communication. This is the primary reason of the sacraments since they are the language of the intangible realities expressed with and in tangible realities. The reality of God is beyond any human comprehension; we only have an idea of God, but we do not really know who and what God is, except all that has been tangibly revealed to us. We the baptized therefore become the tangible reality of Christ in the world, containing all the graces to make people come to know God through our words and actions which are Christ-centered.
Just as any ambassador does not act on a person and private agenda but on that of the one who initiated and assigned the ambassadorial duties, so we cannot go out to declare Christ with our crafted designs that are not Christ-centered. That would be an effrontery and an affront attempt on our part to be more than the one who has sent us into the vineyard to harvest the produce that we did not even plant. As Isaiah and Jeremiah would allude, we are the clay in the hands of God who is the potter who can fashion us in to the image of Christ. May we totally surrender ourselves and wills in a spirit of humility into the hands of God so that we might be fashioned into the very tangible realities of Christ’s love and presence among us in this world of ours here and now!
Tuesday Mass & Adoration 4-6pm
Wednesday - Friday 7:45am
(Sunday, 29 March 2015)
(Friday, 03 April 2015)
(Saturday, 04 April 2015)
(Sunday, 05 April 2015)