Dear brothers and sisters, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
It is Lenten season. It is the season the Church calls us to reflect deeply on the sufferings, passion, and death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. During the Lenten season, the Church calls us to repentance. The Church encourages us to imitate Jesus Christ, follow in His footsteps, and work with Him on the way of the cross. She urges us to undertake some Lenten disciplines, such as fasting, praying, almsgiving, abstinence, self-denial and sacrifice, mortification, and penance for spiritual benefits, reconciliation with God, and improving our relationship with God. Jesus Christ came to save us and reconcile us with God.
Come, Let Us Set Things Right!
The Prophet Ezekiel tells us that God does not take pleasure in the death of a wicked person, but rather they should repent and live (Ezekiel 33:11). The divine invitation, “come, let us set things right”, is a divine call for repentance and reconciliation. It shows us that God is willing to listen and show mercy to us, His children. God washes us clean when we come to Him for a cleansing power. He says, “though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.”
In repentance, we detest sins and make a resolution to obey God and follow in His ways. That was the message of Isaiah to the people of Israel and us. Thus, we should be willing to hear the word of the Lord that challenges us to act in the right and proper manner and do good instead of evil. We should be ready to put away our misdeeds, cease to do evil, learn to do good, redress our wrongdoings, hear, and defend the vulnerable of our society, and strive to be just in all we do. Should we stick to the above, that would be an ideal Lenten resolution pleasing to God. There is no doubt that such a resolution would improve our relationship with God and bring blessedness to us.
Let Us Walk the Talk
Jesus talking about Nathanael in the Gospel of John, said, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him” (Jn. 1:47). Some translations used “guile” or “deceit” in place of duplicity. Jesus Christ’s comment showed that Nathanael was an authentic person. He was also a person of honesty and integrity. He walked the talk, as people would say in today’s parlance. Jesus Christ acknowledged and commended him for these qualities. This comment was a far cry from what we heard from Jesus about the Scribes and Pharisees in today’s Gospel reading. The Scribes and Pharisees lived a life of duplicity. They did not match their words with their deeds; hence, their lives were deceitful to so many. Because of their deception and dishonest life, Jesus Christ warns us not to follow their examples, for they do not practice what they preach.
Christians are people of integrity. Thus, we are called to be authentic in our Christian lives. Life of authenticity is a hallmark of a true and faithful Christian. Pharisaism, hypocrisy, and the like are antithetical to the true Christian life. We, as Christians, should not be associated with such a way of life. One should be able to say of us: there is no duplicity in us, just as Jesus Christ said of Nathanael. Let us resolve during this Lenten season to be authentic, match our deeds with our words, practice what we preach, and, as it were, walk our talk.
Always remember that Jesus loves you!