Today is the 5th Sunday of Lent, as we continue our journey toward the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ; the first reading today, reminds us the Covenant with the Lord, and it is a new covenant which initiated by the Lord: "I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts, I will be their God, and they shall be my people." I would like to invite all of you to pay attention to these words, God himself will write His law in your hearts, and He declares that you are his people and he is your God. Our faith is initiated by God, revealed by Him, our faith is neither our imagination nor illusion. We can be called his people worthily if we will follow his law, obeying his commandment. And what is more beautiful in this new covenant is the promise of the Lord contains in these words." I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more". The New Covenant reveals the mercy of our Lord. The mercy of our Lord is so divine and so human; for he knew what we feel , and he felt what we undergone through; he is God and He is human. In the Lenten season we are asked to be faithful to this New Covenant, that is to remain his people by turning to him. Perhaps it might be timely to ask ourselves: do we turn to Him? Or to whom I am turning to? Many young people today often turn to their cell phone and other gadgets on -- instead of turning to the real person to meet and to talk closely to Christ.
The challenge of the world today, is not what we have done or have been doing, rather whether we are on the right track of life or not, right direction , or not. The Mother Church reminds us of the Sacrament of Reconciliation especially during the Lenten Season, to reconcile with God, with others and with oneself. The fruit of this reconciliation supposes to lead oneself to do something for others, for those who are in need mostly or to have alms-giving to those who have none; and in doing this, faithful prayer is always essential. It is in prayer that we practice charity; we learn the mercy of God, and eventually we are asked to be merciful, and to share the mercy of God to others.
By turning to Jesus, we are actually obeying Jesus; as in the second reading according to the Letter to the Hebrew: "Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered." Obedience is not easy, we as students, often times we were asked to obey to what our teacher said, there are times we choose to obey, other times not; and still other times we obey merely but not from our hearts. The truth is that all teachers want their students to be better, they ask the students to obey for the well being of the students, we need to obey in order to be disciplined.
It is same with our God, He wants us to obey his law is for our good, obedience is actually something protective; it prepares us for the better.
Jesus obeyed God the Father, even to the point of death on the cross; and from the cross of Jesus, comes salvation. He left a good example for us to follow; in obeying God we are fulfilling God's plan in us. It is challenging to obey when we experience difficulties; but this is the meaning of obedience, choose to obey when the cross comes into your life; because that cross will bring you salvation; and we hope that cross is a cross with Jesus, not a cross without Jesus.
As in the Gospel: "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." Through the cross and death comes new life. Jesus gave the meaning to life: whoever loves his life loses it and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternity. He offered us new understanding of life, and that is following Jesus and serving Jesus; "whoever serves me must follow me." We always have to turn to Him, to follow Him in order to serve Him. In reality, we might not change our life situation and condition, but we can change our attitude toward life, our understanding of the meaning of life. And may we always remember that following Jesus and serving Jesus should be the directions of our life.
It is timely for us to reflect on the New Covenant which God has wrote in our hearts, examine our attitude and behavior in obeying God's words and the meaning of New Life which will be born out of the cross. Amen.