GOD’S GIFT TO US: HIS SON Abraham was prepared to give God his only son, Isaac, in sacrifice. God would do no less. ‘ This is my Son, the Beloved,’ he says to us. ‘Listen to him’.
May our hearts be open to love and compassion The season of Lent invites us to enter more deeply into the Paschal Mystery of Christ – there is an ongoing call to conversion, an invitation to renew our baptismal promises to the Lord. It is a good time to re-examine our life in Christ. What kind of lives are we living? Are we living as children of God? Are the fruits of the Holy Spirit evident in our lives?
Before entering into his passion, Jesus gave us this commandment: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” One cannot love God and yet hate his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20). The love of God and neighbour are inseparable. We cannot claim to love God but ignore the needs of our neighbour.
Who is our neighbour then? The poor, the sick and the needy. God comes to us in spiritual and material poverty so our hearts are open to love and compassion. The poor have much to teach us. As we serve them, they help us to grow in love, generosity, kindness and love. But it is not enough to sit back and wait for the poor to approach us. We must go forth to embrace the needs of our neighbour. Pope Francis tells us, “We are called to confront the poverty of our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it.”
As disciples of Christ, charity is more than a responsibility. It is a response to a God who has poured His love into our hearts. In this season of Lent, let us ask ourselves – who are our neighbours in need? How can we concretely respond to these needs? I invite you to open your hearts to recognise the face of Christ in those that we encounter, to meet the needs of our neighbours. One concrete way of meeting the needs of our underprivileged is through the Annual Charities Week, which serves over 50,000 beneficiaries of all races and religions through Caritas Singapore.
As we share in the passion and death of Christ, and die to our selfishness and sins, let us hold fast to prayer, fasting and almsgiving so that we can be renewed in our relationship in Christ to experience the joy that Easter brings forth. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Gal 6:10)
I wish you a holy and blessed Lent in preparation for a joyful Easter!
Yours in Christ,
Archbishop William Goh