HOMILY FOR THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT, YEAR B.              7th March, 2021

Fr. Gregory Aabaa, OP.

In our first reading today we are reminded of one basic truth: that God’s laws are still very relevant because they are eternal and unchanging. On this third Sunday of lent, the Church deems it right to take us to the part of scripture which reminds us of the commandments of God because our world is gradually and deeply becoming Godless and lawless. Ours is a time when several people are simply tired of a God who gives laws and demands holiness from us. Ours is a time of licentiousness and free range. Many people simply want to do whatever they like and however they want it. People are quick to remind God of their rights and freedom; their right to fool, right to play with their salvation and their right to perish in hell, their right kill (in abortion and other protracted murder) and their right to do whatever they like with their bodies. The time has come for the voice of God to be heard once again to remind a perishing humanity of the dangers of not being Godly and not following the commandments of God.

The first commandment given by God in our first reading asserts rather simply that “I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other God but me. I am a jealous God“. God is reminding us that he is still God and he has not changed.  He tells us that he is still in charge of us and not us in charge of him: “ I am the Lord your God“. God is telling us that he still lives, he is not dead. When God says “you shall have no other God but me”, it is not a cold philosophical declaration of monotheism, it is a warm proclamation of total adherence to him in which we owe him the duty of our service and worship; we owe him the affection of our hearts, we owe him the desire of our will and we owe him the understanding of our minds. His laws are eternal and unchanging. The Ten Commandments he gave to the Israelites, the same commandments he gives to us also. Dear brothers and sisters, reflecting on the ten commandments, we must come to the following conclusions that:

  • Disobedience to God and parents has not assumed a positive moral value because human beings have become more critical. Disobedience is still wrong and is a sin.
  • Stealing is still wrong and a sin. Stealing has not become right because you must survive.
  • Adultery is still wrong and a sin. Adultery has not become right because your wife or husband doesn’t treat you well. To the husband snatchers and wife snatchers, taking another person’s husband or wife has not become right because you claim you love him or her or that he or she loves you.
  • Murder, particularly abortion, has not become morally acceptable because you have rights and freedom. Killing or the deliberate taking of another’s life is still wrong and a sin.
  • Giving false testimony or witness and telling lies about others are still wrong and a sin. Lying or giving false witness against someone else has not become right because you have to defend yourself. Self-defence does not justify your breaking of the commandment of God not to lie or bear false witness.

God’s laws are eternally valid and they continue to witness against us when we break any of them. Sin is sin and God hates sin.

REMEMBER THAT

  • God is not polite with sin.
  • God is not kind to evil.
  • God is not gentle with evil.

This explains the action of Jesus in the Gospel reading. Jesus is simply radically intolerable of evil. He goes berserk in the face of thriving sin and the forces of evil. He is not polite with sin. He literarily says to them “take this nonsense out of here.” And even now, God says same to us too “take this nonsense out of my sight”. You may be beautifully dressed with a fine make up yet there may be so much nonsense within. Rid yourself off the nonsense of sin: the nonsense of being a husband or wife snatcher, the nonsense of witchcraft, the nonsense of wickedness, unforgiveness, jealousy and hatred.

This season of learnt, let us try and resolve to at least deal with and get rid of one sinful habit in our personal lives. Look at the commandments of God once again, reflect on them in the silence of your heart and see the ones you are breaking or you have broken. Come back to your senses and return to God for his mercy.

I would want to conclude with these words of Martin Luther. He says “There is no better mirror in which you can see what you need than the ten commandments in which you find what you lack and what you have to look for”.

May God bless his words in our hearts.