3rd Sunday of Lent (Fr. Francis)
My dear Brothers and Sister in Christ,
The season of Lent in the Church has a twofold purpose. First of all the catechumens are preparing to be baptized in the Easter Vigil. Secondly, the baptized are preparing to participate in the Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection, culminating in the renewal of our baptismal promises in the Easter Mass. We do all this because, as John’s gospel today proclaims: Jesus Christ “is truly the savior of the world.”
We heard from the first reading about the Ten Commandments. It would be fitting that we reflect today on the Ten Commandments which the catechumens will receive on this first scrutiny day.
The Ten Commandments are Laws that God has revealed to us. The first three Commandments treat our relationship to God. The last seven concern our relationship with each other. The first commandment calls us to have faith in the true God, to hope in him, and to love him fully with mind, heart, and will. Second one – respect for the Lord’s name and third one calls us to keep holy the Lord’s Day – Sabbath (Sunday).the heart of Sunday is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist (MASS). The practice of celebrating the Eucharist on Sunday dates from the earliest times AD 100. We should know the importance of Sunday mass and pass on to the next generations.
The last seven commandments speaks of our relationship with each other. Love of Neighbor. In short the commandments calls us to love God and love our neighbor.
Blessed Pope John Paul II in his encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, reaffirmed the age-old teaching of the Church, the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the teaching of Jesus Christ himself, said, “not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.”
He pointed out that Christ told the rich young man, as he tells each one of us, when we ask God how it is we ought to live, “Follow the commandments!” Yes it is true, Christ gave us a new commandment, to love one another as he has loved us, but this is only the expression of what the commandments teach and do not negate them but fulfill them. To love God with our whole heart, mind and strength and our neighbor as our very self is again exactly what the commandments teach.
So if anyone says that they love and then do not follow the commandments is a hypocrite and liar. “Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.”
The Ten Commandments are still totally and completely binding on every human heart. Our age needs them more than ever. The only way to give these to the world are with people who faithfully live out the law – living witnesses – saints. “Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
We are called to be saints of the Ten Commandments, who grow daily in the holy love and fear of God. We are called to let this witness shine out in our families and to our friends, in our workplace and in the marketplace, in private and public, whether we are busy or at rest.
May Our Lady, the holy Mother of God and our Mother, help us to live the commandments and turn perpetually away from what is evil.
In the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, we are told by Jesus that he gives us living water. Living water is Jesus’ teaching—the revelation of God. If we accept His teaching, the living water will well up within us. We will be filled with the word of God, the presence of God within us as a Church and as individual members of the Church. Furthermore, the living water Jesus gives us is the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit gives us life. Jesus further explains this when He says that true worshippers of the Father will worship in Spirit and truth. We can only worship God our Father as His children when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and live in the truth of God’s teaching given us by Jesus.
May the good Lord help us to follow his commandments and worship him in spirit and truth!
Fr. A. Francis HGN