Readings for the Third Sunday of Lent: February 28, 2016
Exodus 3: 1-8, 13-15
1 Corinthians 10: 1-6, 10-12
Luke 13: 1-9
Throughout the Lenten Season, the theme of God’s divine mercy is predominant and evident.
Today’s readings are filled with the compassion and love of a merciful God.
In the first reading from Exodus, Moses encounters God in the burning bush. Moses had no idea that he would meet God, he was not even looking for him but God chose Moses to save his people from the Egyptians and remained with him. Even when we do not seek out God, God finds us and remains with us always, especially when he asks difficult things of us. God’s love is always faithful and consistent; he is ready to sustain, forgive and nurture us no matter how serious our sins are. But God will not save us against our will or without our co-operation. We must be open to receiving God’s grace and forgiveness because when we sin, God does not stop loving us, we stop loving God.
In the second reading of Paul to the Corinthians, we hear about Moses and our ancestors in the faith. God called them all and although he was not always pleased with them, he never abandoned them. He remained faithful to them, in spite of their unfaithfulness to him. How strong and unrelenting is God’s mercy. What hope and consolation this gives us, but we must be willing to change, to heal our broken relationship with him, knowing and trusting that God is there for us…ALWAYS.
In today’s gospel from Luke, the strong words of Jesus are reflecting the traditions of the Old Testament, showing us that God accepts us as sinners, but still loves us intensely. However, God wants us to repent of whatever keeps us from him and all others.
The second half of the gospel is a brief parable about a fig tree that has not born fruit in three years. The owner tells the gardener to cut it down, but he begs the owner to let him cultivate and fertilize it for one more year to see of it will again bear fruit. The owner agrees. This is yet again, another example of God’s patience
with us, even when we don’t bear fruit. He is willing to wait and give us another chance because he does not want us to wither and die. At the same time, our merciful God is just, and will hold us accountable if we fail to respond to his grace.
This Lent is a good time for us to examine our lives and nourish our souls through prayer, almsgiving and sacrifice. When we give our hearts and our whole being to God, good works result in abundance. The works of mercy that we do for others open our hearts to understand God’s mercy towards us. Luke 6:36 tells us to “be merciful just as your father is merciful”
Perhaps this Lent is an opportune time to examine our lives and let our hearts be transformed by God’s amazing grace. Let us be deeply aware of the mystery of God’s presence in our lives and in the whole world so that this season of second chances may inspire us to let fruit immerge—fruit that will be lovingly shared with others.
By Sister Josita DiVita, F.D.C.