One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
At the start of his public ministry, Jesus went into the desert for forty days and it is because of this that we must keep the holy season of Lent. We relive his experience in an attempt to establish a deeper bond and a closer friendship between God and ourselves. The journey we make is an inward one, into the wilderness of our innermost self, to stand before God in all sincerity and truth. This helps us to see ourselves as we really are and as we take stock of what we are doing with our time and our talents, we become also more aware of our need to find connection with God and others. The need to change and to renew the struggle against evil by prayer, fasting and alms giving is our challenge for this Season of Lent. Good luck and safe journey....
A great Prophet has risen among us; God has looked favourable on his people.
The gospel shows how Christ was moved to compassion when he met the leper.He was not afraid to reach out and touch the infected man.This is only one of many personal encounters between Jesus and sick people, where his compassion is so evident. It says something profound about the healer, as a font of mercy, and gives us an insight into God’s caring approach to physical and spiritual sickness.Spiritual leprosy is a reality in every age.It’s a sickness of the soul which cuts us off from God and is much more serious because it remains invisible and goes unnoticed for a much longer time.The really good news for all of us is that just as Jesus reached out to touch and cure the leper, he stretches out his healing hand to bind up the wounds of all our sins.
Sing praises to the Lord who heals the broken-hearted.
In the gospel passage Jesus comes to Simon’s mother-in-law, stretches out his hand and cures her.Christ gives us no answer about suffering nor does he try to explain why people have to suffer but showed us the importance of turning suffering into joy.By identifying himself with the sick and the dying even to dying himself on the Cross, Jesus clearly revealed that suffering is part of God’s mysterious plan.It all depends on how we shoulder our cross, for, by uniting our trials with Christ’s we can enjoy his victory.Whatever happens to us, all things will work together for those who love God and share in the passion of Christ. The gospel does not guarantee our freedom from suffering but gives us the assurance that God is with us however great our suffering may be.
O that today you would listen to the voice of the Lord.Do not harden your hearts!
Occasionally when public figures speak, we refuse to take them seriously because they convey the impression that they are not sincere and are merely voicing the party line.The term ‘credibility gap’ is one way of expressing our suspicion that there is no depth to their fine words.The most fundamental criticism we can make of any person is to say that they are not one of their word.In today’s gospel we are told that Christ spoke with authority and conviction; he never was a dictator, yet because he spoke with authority and conviction; he was nailed to the cross.His preaching had a great impact on all open-minded people who were listening.Its effects were staggering because he spoke from the heart and was fired with enthusiasm for the truth.As a leader Jesus has no political pull, or military clout, and yet people were spellbound and challenged to the core of their being by the compelling power of what he was saying.The word of God will always challenge us to the depth of our being.
The kingdom of God has come near: repent and believe the good news!
What was striking about the apostles’ response to the call of Jesus was their realization that something better was on offer.They sensed that Jesus was inviting them to a higher way of life and they saw themselves, not as they were, but as they could be.To such an invitation there could only be one response: to repent and believe the Good News.We need to repent and change our ways no less than the people of Nineveh.The story of Jonah speaks to us about our own closed minds, hardened attitudes and bigotry.It shatters any illusion we may have about being a tolerant people.The thorns and briars of hatred and prejudice are deeply ingrained in our being, and can only be rooted out by repentance, and a change of heart. Deep down we know that we are not yet the people God is calling us to be.Jonah’s message holds out hope for all of us.If the pagan people of Nineveh could place their faith in the preaching of a Jewish prophet and change their lives accordingly, can we be less generous to Christ who died to save us?The Good News is that God’s loving mercy is available to all who repent whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever they have done.By choosing to repent we can change our lives.