It is 24th March 2018. The readings are from Ezekiel 37:21-28; and the Gospel from John 11:45-56. As we are preparing ourselves to enter into Holy Week, the intention of God for the Lent is unfolding in our readings. In the first reading the prophet Ezekiel brings out the vision of God for God’s people. This passage deals with theme of cleansing of the land and to have one king for all people. The mutual belonging comes by the purity of the hearts and lives even though we may come different families, culture, tribal, and racial backgrounds. God always desired to unite the people to make them feel and celebrate their dignity of being the children of God. God desires that the people of God to promote peace not division, worship in spirit and truth not idolatry, and to live among them as the Sanctifier of Israel. “I will bless them and multiply them and will set my sanctuary among them forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Ez.37:28). God wants to sanctify and bless us as we wish to confess our sins and surrender again to the Lord. The prophet injects tremendous hope to those who return from the exile. When God is given God’s place in our hearts, lives, in all interactions, there is permanent peace offered by God to God’s people, and the absence of war and the promise of restoration initiated by God. Lent is the time, God wants to restore in us what was darkened by our sins and selfishness. God’s restoration is not temporary rather for ever. Our unity and peace are guaranteed by the sincere cleansing of ourselves and willingness to forgive others and bring everyone under one banner of love. The responsorial Verse praises, “The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.” (Jer.31:10). The Gospel presents Jesus as the New Leader who redeem the people of God by His very passion, death and resurrection. The plot to kill Jesus thickens as there are some people engaging in betrayal and bring suffering to Jesus. Jesus is the one who unifies us to God and He is our Redeemer and Saviour to whom we need to open our hearts. But then, Jesus had to face the devil disguised in his disciples who became traitors and betrayers. The intention of Jesus coming to the world is to gather all people who are scattered due to their petty evil reasons. Jesus so desired to unify and reconcile everyone to God. The idea of unity and reconciliation is expressed so many parables of the Lord especially the harvest (Jn.4:35-38); the one flock and the one shepherd (Jn.10:16); the vine and branches (Jn.15:1-8), and the unbroken net (Jn.21:11). Are we the promoters of peace and reconciliation or division and destruction? We have a lot to settle with Jesus. Let us come to Him personally and settle our unfinished accounts our relationship with God and one another. May you have a good day.

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