With the reception of ashes on our foreheads, signifying repentance, renewal and a commitment to a more robust followership of Christ, we begin the Holy Season of Lent. Through fasting, prayer and almsgiving, we shall ascend to the Holy Mountain of Easter when we shall celebrate the triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ over sin and death and renew our hope in the resurrection of the body. Lent shall run from Ash Wednesday until the evening mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, which then begins the Sacred Paschal Triduum.
The First Reading on this First Sunday of Lent recalls when and how our first ancestors were tempted to disobey God and how evil, as a direct consequence of their disobedience, entered the world which was good when God created it. The serpent, who represents Satan the Tempter, approached Eve and managed to convince her to eat of the Tree of Knowledge against Divine prohibition.READ MORE
The Gospel passage this weekend is a completion of the subunit in the “Sermon on the Mount” corpus where Jesus engaged His disciples in a discourse on the Law. This subunit can be found in Matthew 5:17-48 and deals with Jesus’ teaching of the irreplaceability of the Law of God which can be truly observed from the pure motive of love. In the first part of this subunit, Jesus makes use of four of the Commandments to deepen our understanding of the Law by insisting on, not only external observance of the Torah, but also on true internal conversion that admits only love as the genuine motive of the Law. Jesus completes the discourse on the Law, through critical examination and elucidation of two more articles of the Law, how the virtue of His would-be disciples must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, transcending external observances and mere religiosity to embrace true Christian Spirituality which aims at Holiness in radical imitation of God’s holiness.READ MORE
After listening to Jesus’ teaching on the Beatitudes and hearing Him use the strong and very consequential metaphors of salt and light to describe his would-be disciples, the audience of the “Sermon on the Mount’’ must have come to the realization that they were dealing with a special kind of teacher with undoubtedly revolutionary ideas about religion. They may have imagined that given the positive rendition of the Beatitudes, in contrast to the prohibitive nature of the decalogue, and given the manner he positioned His disciples as agents of a new world order, Jesus was probably going to abrogate the letters of the law and replace same with new and more revolutionary precepts that would be a more formidable vehicle for His very radical ideas.READ MORE
The Gospel passage this weekend is taken from the “Sermon on the Mount” corpus, and immediately follows Jesus’ proclamation of the Beatitudes, the ordinary and necessary precepts for a true Christian life. St. Matthew recounts that Jesus ascended the mountain from where He taught the people who gathered around it in order to listen to Him.READ MORE