It is 20th March 2020. The readings are from Hosea 14:2-10; and the Gospel from Mark 12:28-34. God expresses God’s desire to everyone at this very difficult, painful and depressing times of the humanity inviting us to return to God. As we listen to the rules, and regulations of the governments and the precautions and self-safeguarding guidelines for the common good from the medical care-givers about this spreading of the virus, we must not forget to honor the Lord. Prayer, fasting and merciful acts need to be witnessed more intimately now in our domestic churches, our homes. It is indeed the most graceful time all the families to encounter God amidst anxiety, fear and sickness around us. God promises us to heal us all no matter how terribly we have fallen. “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Heb.8:12). God is not angry on the humanity. God loves us and cares for us all. “I will heal their defection, says the LORD, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them.” (Hos.14:4). Healing and fruitfulness in our spiritual life comes from God. During this unprecedented time of our existence, it is our responsibility, more so during this Lent to admit our guilt and sin so as to return to the Lord in time. “It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; your fruitfulness comes from me.” (Hos.14:8). The responsorial Psalm assures, “I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.” (Ps.81:11). The Gospel invites us to have a priority in loving God through loving our neighbor. “Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mk.12:29). During this personal and communal lockdown, we need to find ways and means to relate not react; reach out not retract; rebuild and reimburse rather to be remote and rumor-monger. We must not bury ourselves in fear and forget about the other rather we need to show our love and care through personal prayer and mortifications. Loving God must culminate in loving others. In trusting and loving God, one cannot be preoccupied with God forgetting the suffering humanity. Our total demonstration of faith in God is witnessed in our loving and caring humanitarian acts shown in the community we live in. “Give us gladness in proportion to our misery! Replace the evil with good.” (Ps.90:15). May you be filled with blessings of peace, health and happiness. May God bless you.

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