The Season of Lent is approaching its close and we are on the last of the trifecta of lengthy Gospel Readings from St. John in the Liturgical “Year A”. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday which will usher us into Holy Week, and as we draw closer to Easter, we find the Readings revolving around the theme of Death, Resurrection and Life.
The First Reading, taken from the Prophet Ezekiel, is God’s own interpretation of the “Dry Bones” vision; shown to the Prophet where Ezekiel was instructed to prophesy life to the vast army of dry bones which received restoration of flesh and came to life as soon as the Prophet did as he was instructed. Here (in the First Reading), God reveals to the Prophet the meaning of the preceding vision. God was going to terminate Israel’s hopelessness in exile and effect a restoration that would see Israel returned to her ancestral habitat. Israel’s exile is interpreted as some kind of death, so real that all that is left of her is a mass of disjointed skeletons. Through the power of God’s Word, God’s Spirit will resuscitate and restore Israel to her pre-exilic state where she enjoyed liberty on her own land. Through this, Israel shall know that God is the Lord.READ MORE
Beginning last weekend, using the Gospel of St. John and forming a trifecta of liturgical weekends, the Church introduced us to the mysteries of the Sacraments. This is to increase the understanding of the Catechumens about the mysteries they are about to receive, and to the Baptized, a renewal and recommitment to the fruits of the Sacraments. The Readings last weekend exposed the mysteries of sanctifying Grace which Christ bestows on all believers through the Sacraments in order to graciously grant them eternal life. This weekend, the Readings are themed around anointing and light.READ MORE
Water is among the most essential needs of a human being, the absence of which is very likely to ignite an irrepressible thirst that can only be satisfied by it or a similarly drinkable liquid. On their way to the Promised Land, the people of Israel had to journey through deserts that lacked sources of drinking water. The people grumbled against Moses who turned to God for a solution to the problem. The Lord instructed Moses to strike a rock with his staff and the people drank the water that flowed from it. The physical thirst of the Israelites in the desert was a sign pointing to a greater thirst, our thirst for God Himself which cannot be satisfied with physical water. In Psalm 42:1-2, the Psalmist puts it succinctly, “like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is longing for you my God.” Like Israel, we often mask our real longing for God with the deal for pleasure and material things.READ MORE
The Season of Lent is always an important annual segment of our journey of faith. For this reason, we are invited by the Church, through the Readings, to reflect on the beginning of the journey of faith embarked on by Abraham our Father in Faith, and the defining moment of the Transfiguration, Jesus’ theophany after which Scripture reports “He set His face towards Jerusalem” (LK 9:51). Both journeys provide a living standard by which we, as Christians, can measure our own journey of faith.READ MORE
With the reception of ashes on our foreheads, signifying repentance, renewal and a commitment to a more robust followership of Christ, we begin the Holy Season of Lent. Through fasting, prayer and almsgiving, we shall ascend to the Holy Mountain of Easter when we shall celebrate the triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ over sin and death and renew our hope in the resurrection of the body. Lent shall run from Ash Wednesday until the evening mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, which then begins the Sacred Paschal Triduum.
The First Reading on this First Sunday of Lent recalls when and how our first ancestors were tempted to disobey God and how evil, as a direct consequence of their disobedience, entered the world which was good when God created it. The serpent, who represents Satan the Tempter, approached Eve and managed to convince her to eat of the Tree of Knowledge against Divine prohibition.READ MORE
The Gospel passage this weekend is a completion of the subunit in the “Sermon on the Mount” corpus where Jesus engaged His disciples in a discourse on the Law. This subunit can be found in Matthew 5:17-48 and deals with Jesus’ teaching of the irreplaceability of the Law of God which can be truly observed from the pure motive of love. In the first part of this subunit, Jesus makes use of four of the Commandments to deepen our understanding of the Law by insisting on, not only external observance of the Torah, but also on true internal conversion that admits only love as the genuine motive of the Law. Jesus completes the discourse on the Law, through critical examination and elucidation of two more articles of the Law, how the virtue of His would-be disciples must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, transcending external observances and mere religiosity to embrace true Christian Spirituality which aims at Holiness in radical imitation of God’s holiness.READ MORE
After listening to Jesus’ teaching on the Beatitudes and hearing Him use the strong and very consequential metaphors of salt and light to describe his would-be disciples, the audience of the “Sermon on the Mount’’ must have come to the realization that they were dealing with a special kind of teacher with undoubtedly revolutionary ideas about religion. They may have imagined that given the positive rendition of the Beatitudes, in contrast to the prohibitive nature of the decalogue, and given the manner he positioned His disciples as agents of a new world order, Jesus was probably going to abrogate the letters of the law and replace same with new and more revolutionary precepts that would be a more formidable vehicle for His very radical ideas.READ MORE
The Gospel passage this weekend is taken from the “Sermon on the Mount” corpus, and immediately follows Jesus’ proclamation of the Beatitudes, the ordinary and necessary precepts for a true Christian life. St. Matthew recounts that Jesus ascended the mountain from where He taught the people who gathered around it in order to listen to Him.READ MORE